Biographical Summary

Abigail Smith joined CPN in July 2019. She graduated from the University of Colorado Denver with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and minor in Astrophysics. During her undergraduate studies, she investigated exercise-augmentation of fear extinction, especially as it relates to mTOR signaling, sex differences in exercise behavior, and the potential of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) fear-consolidation for use in the treatment of fear and anxiety-related disorders. Abigail supports CPN’s clinical research activity by orchestrating the acquisition of data, samples, and the daily movement of participants. She has been central to the lab’s transition to NIDA by coordinating the design and development of new physical spaces and equipment for research activity, which has involved configuring technology and software for a virtual reality simulation of a cafeteria and the design of a new “bar laboratory” for alcohol cue reactivity paradigms. She has also aided in adapting study procedures to comply with the evolving safety guidelines for the COVID-19 pandemic. Abigail is interested in biomarkers and assessments of alcohol use in pregnant/neonate populations, and the role of the gut hormone ghrelin in depression and is currently conducting systematic reviews of the literature on these topics.