The Catholic University of America


Nancy E. Adleman

Assistant Professor

Advisor, Neuroscience Minor



303 O'Boyle (202) 319-5816

My research aims to determine the neuropathophysiology of pediatric mood disorders including bipolar disorder (BD), severe mood dysregulation (SMD), and major depressive disorder (MDD).  To identify the neural correlates of these disorders, I utilize structural and functional neuroimaging techniques including diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), voxel-based morphometry (VBM), and advanced functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) methods.  Specifically, I study the neural correlates of attention and attention-emotion interactions in these disorders, as attention deficits are present in all three mood disorders and the extent to which attention deficits are secondary to emotional difficulties remains unclear.  Neuroimaging may be used to elucidate how dysfunction in attention and its interaction with emotion may mediate symptoms of mood disorders, and how treatment impacts such dysfunction.  Additionally, because attention deficits are evident across a range of diagnoses, delineation of the neural correlates of attention deficits has the potential for broad-reaching impact on psychiatric treatment, especially in children.  As evidence suggests that pediatric mood disorders lead to a lifetime of reduced functioning, novel interventions based on neural findings could significantly reduce both the lifetime burden of illness for children with these disorders, as well as the overall societal burden of mental illness.



Postdoctoral Fellow, National Institute of Mental Health (2008-2013)

Ph.D., Neuroscience, Stanford University School of Medicine (2008)

B.A., with distinction, Psychology, Neuroscience Track, Stanford University (1999)

Selected Publications

Adleman, N.E., Kayser, R.R., Olsavsky, A.K., Bones, B.L., Muhrer, E.J., Fromm, S.J., Pine, D.S., Zarate, C., Leibenluft, E., Brotman, M.A. 2013. Abnormal fusiform activation during emotional-face encoding in children and adults with bipolar disorder. Psychiatric Research: Neuroimaging 212(2):161-163. 

Thomas, L.A., Kim, P., Bones, B.L., Hinton, K., Milch, H.S., Reynolds, R.C., Adleman, N.E., Marsh, A.A., Blair, R.J.R., Pine, D.S., Leibenluft, E. 2013. Elevated amygdala responses to emotional faces in youths with chronic irritability or bipolar disorder. NeuroImage: Clinical 2: 637-645. 

Adleman, N.E., Fromm, S., Razdan, V., Kayser, R., Dickstein, D.P., Brotman, M.A., Pine, D.S., Leibenluft, E. 2012. Cross-sectional and longitudinal abnormalities in brain structure in children with severe mood dysregulation or bipolar disorder. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 53(11): 1149-56. 

Garrett, A., Reiss, A., Howe, M., Kelley, R., Singh, M., Karchemskiy, A., Adleman, N., Chang, M., Chang, K. 2012. Abnormal amygdala and prefrontal cortex activation to facial expressions in pediatric bipolar disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 51(8):821-31. 

Adleman, N.E., Kayser, R., Dickstein, D.P., Blair, R.J., Pine, D.S., Leibenluft, E. 2011. Neural correlates of reversal learning in severe mood dysregulation and pediatric bipolar disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 50(11): 1173-1185.e2.