Gruner Awarded Inaugural Bowers Prize

Patricia Gruner, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, was awarded the first Bowers Prize by the Hartford Hospital Research Committee.

Gruner, a clinical psychologist who studies obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and related disorders, conducts research through the Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center at Hartford Hospital.

The Bowers Prize – funded by the Bowers family – supports in its first year a project by a researcher whose work is considered particularly important to the Bowers family and the Prize Committee.

Gruner will investigate how transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) can bring about therapeutic changes in obsessive-compulsive disorder. “We’re trying to learn more about how TMS can cause changes in OCD when applied to the orbitofrontal cortex / Brodmann area 10 (OFC / BA10), an area known to be involved in OCD is, ”she said. “This region is close to the cortical surface, which enables more precise and reliable stimulation than deeper brain regions.”

Gruner’s collaborators are Drs. Vaughn Steele, Michael Stevens, David Tolin and Godfrey Pearlson.

Through her research, Gruner tries to understand how cognitive processes are changed in the course of obsessive-compulsive disorder and how these processes are related to both aberrations of neurobiological function and symptoms.

“In particular, I try to combine the clinical knowledge that I acquired early as a psychologist in the treatment of patients with OCD with the knowledge that I acquired and continue to acquire while researching the cognitive and neurobiological anomalies of this disorder” , she said. “My goal is to use this knowledge to develop and refine interventions that directly target the deficits most important for pathology.”

Submitted by Christopher Gardner on July 21, 2021

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