Meet the Staff

Thomas Neylan, MD


Dr. Thomas Neylan is the Director of the Stress and Health Research Program. He has been an active researcher in the study of sleep, neuroendocrinology, neuroimaging, electrophysiology, gene expression, and treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder for the past 18 years. He has demonstrated that sleep disturbances in PTSD are associated with high levels of the stress-related peptide, corticotrophin releasing hormone and changes in the structure of the hippocampus, which underscores the importance of developing novel treatments for PTSD-related sleep disturbances. Dr. Neylan is the Principal Investigator on four current studies, AFTER, VGX: Veterans Group Exercise, PTSD and the Aging Brain and RISE, and involved in multiple studies examining the biology of PTSD, utilizing brain imaging, electrophysiology, and neuroendocrinology.


Dr. Aoife O’Donovan is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and a Research Psychologist at the University of California, San Francisco and the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Her research is focused on revealing how psychological stress drives the development of mental and physical disorders. Specifically, she aims to identify the psychological and biological factors that account for the adverse effects of psychological stress, and ultimately to guide the development of targeted interventions to reduce the negative effects of stress. To this end, she is currently running studies focused on uncovering stress-related changes in immune system functioning and on examining how such changes impact brain function and structure. Moreover, her lab has an ongoing digital health trial that aims to reduce the negative effects of traumatic stress on health. Find out more:


Dr. Irina Strigo is the director of the Emotion and Pain Laboratory at the San Francisco VA Medical Center and the University of California San Francisco. She uses psychophysical and brain imaging approaches to study experimental pain perception in various psychiatric disorders, such as Major Depression, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Eating Disorders and Traumatic Brain Injury. The long-term goal of this research is to understand the mechanisms leading to co-morbidities between chronic pain and psychiatric conditions.


To find out more about her work see her full profile at: