Department of Psychology
Medford, MA 02155
Master's, University of Colorado - Boulder, 2010
PhD, Tufts University, 2015
Dr. VanElzakker received a master's degree in behavioral neuroscience at
the University of Colorado, working in Dr. Robert Spencer's
neuroendocrinology laboratory, and a PhD in experimental clinical psychology
at Tufts University, working in Dr. Lisa Shin's psychopathology neuroimaging
laboratory. His postdoctoral fellowship is at Massachusetts General
Hospital/ Harvard Medical School, at the Martinos Center for Biomedical
Imaging, in the Division of Neurotherapeutics.
Dr. VanElzakker is interested in uncovering the mechanisms of post-traumatic
stress disorder (PTSD), and of myalgic encephalomyelitis - also known as
chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS).
His PTSD research uses functional and structural brain imaging, behavioral
attention tasks, blood, and genetic data to investigate what makes some
individuals vulnerable to PTSD following trauma. He is interested in using
non-invasive electroceutical medical devices to enhance safety learning,
which may eventually serve as an adjunct to enhance exposure-based therapy
His ME/CFS research uses functional and structural brain imaging to look for
abnormal patterns in brain metabolism and inflammation in this patient
population. This research focuses on dysfunction at the intersection of the
nervous and immune systems and posits that ME/CFS may be what happens when
the nervous system detects an exaggerated and ongoing innate immune response.
He is interested in using non-invasive electroceutical medical devices to
enhance the anti-inflammatory vagus nerve reflex.
To support his research, join a study, or if you are an undergraduate who is
interested in joining the lab, please get in touch.