Current Research: I am a Neuroscience graduate student and a graduate student researcher in the Kolber Lab, currently studying the lateralization of neuropeptide pathways in the amygdala and their subsequent roles in modulating both chronic pain and comorbid mental illnesses.

I’m also conducting an award-winning independent research project, assessing the effects of MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD on comorbid OCD. This interdisciplinary review comprehensively assesses this question across various domains/disciplines, including: neurobiology, pharmacology, psychology, clinical trial design, neuropsychopharmacology, etc.

Research Interests: My further research interests include: further elucidating the mechanisms that drive the pathophysiology of disorders such as OCD & PTSD; studying their functionally dynamic comorbidity; and studying psychedelics & the pharmacological mechanisms that underly their unique efficacy in clinical populations!

MDMA-AT, PTSD, & Comorbid OCD: a systematic review assessing the potential effects of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine-assisted therapy for PTSD on comorbid OCD

Abstract:

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are often comorbid psychiatric disorders within patients. Approximately 40% of patients diagnosed with PTSD are also diagnosed with OCD, which far supersedes the estimated 1% rate of OCD prevalence in the general population. First-line psychotherapies differ for both conditions, where PTSD is generally treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and OCD is treated with exposure & response prevention therapy (ERP). These psychotherapies fundamentally differ in their execution, with traditional CBT being contraindicated for OCD treatment. Especially in cases where patients’ PTSD & OCD diagnoses present a dynamic functional relationship, the treatments for both conditions often result in both parallel and inverse results, such that PTSD treatment can often worsen OCD symptoms, and OCD treatment can also often worsen PTSD symptoms. Furthermore, patients with comorbid PTSD and OCD are shown to experience more severe symptomology of both illnesses than patients with either just PTSD or OCD. The contraindication of PTSD treatment on OCD symptomatology and overlapping symptom phenotypes suggest a possible overlap of neurobiological mechanisms between both diseases, where the mechanisms may have inverse or causal relationships.

Thus, when studying the potential of 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine Assisted Therapy (MDMA-AT) for PTSD, a notable point of consideration is the potential challenge of comorbid OCD in PTSD patient populations. This poster reviews the current literature on the comorbid nature of dynamically-related PTSD & OCD diagnoses, potential theoretical and biological frameworks to describe the neurobiological overlap of these conditions, current challenges in the psychological and pharmacological treatments of comorbid PTSD & OCD, and the potential pharmacological mechanisms of 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine that impact PTSD & OCD as individual and comorbid conditions. This poster also evaluates the current paradigm of MDMA-AT for PTSD as it relates to comorbid OCD and assesses its potential contraindicative effects. Additionally, this poster provides several directions for further investigations into this topic across a wide range of relevant disciplines.

Author/Presenter: Uma R. Chatterjee, B.S., MHPS

Project Publications:

Chatterjee, U. R. (2022) MDMA-AT, PTSD, & Comorbid OCD: A systematic review of the potential effects of 3,4-Methyledioxymethamphetamine assisted therapy for PTSD on comorbid OCD. In preparation for publication in Frontiers in Psychiatry – Psychopharmacology.

U. R. CHATTERJEE; Dept. of Neurosci., Univ. of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, TX. MDMA & OCD: a systematic review of the potential effects of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine-assisted therapy for PTSD on comorbid OCD. Program No. 148.15. 2022 Neuroscience Meeting Planner. Chicago, IL: Society for Neuroscience, 2022. Online.

Project Presentations

Oral Presentations

Chatterjee, U. R. MDMA & OCD: Exploring the potential effects of MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD on comorbid OCD. Oral presentation – Natural Science division of PsychedelX 2022 Conference; 2022 June 7; Virtual.

Poster Presentations

Chatterjee, U. R. MDMA & OCD: A systematic review of the potential effects of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine-assisted therapy for PTSD on comorbid OCD. Poster presentation at Society for Neuroscience’s Neuroscience 2022 conference; 2022 November 13; San Diego, California.

Chatterjee, U. R. MDMA-AT, PTSD, & Comorbid OCD: Exploring the potential effects of MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD on comorbid OCD. Poster presentation at the Center for Psychedelic Drug Research & Education’s Psychedemia 2022 Conference Research Symposium; 2022 August 12; Columbus, Ohio.

Chatterjee, U. R. MDMA, PTSD, & Comorbid OCD: Exploring the potential effects of 3,4-Methyledioxymethamphetamine assisted therapy for PTSD on comorbid OCD. Poster presentation at International Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Foundation’s Annual OCD Conference Researcher & Exhibitor Meet & Greet; 2022 July 9; Denver, Colorado.

Chatterjee, U. R. MDMA, PTSD, & Comorbid OCD: Exploring the potential effects of 3,4-Methyledioxymethamphetamine assisted therapy for PTSD on comorbid OCD. Poster presentation at International Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Foundation’s Annual OCD Conference Research Symposium; 2022 July 7; Denver, Colorado.

Awards

  • Larry Cauller Research Travel Award: Society for Neuroscience 2022 Conference | November 2022
  • Outstanding Conference Presentation Award: Psychedemia Conference poster presentation | August 2022
  • Source Research Foundation Travel Grant Award: Psychedemia Conference presentation | August 2022
  • PsychedelX 2022 Conference Overall Winner: 1st place overall winner; Natural Science presenter | June 2022
  • PsychedelX 2022 Conference Natural Sciences Winner: 1st place winner of Natural Science division | June 2022

Identifying with Symptoms in COVID-19

Abstract: This study examined the effects of using primers that normalize and contextualize depressive symptoms within the setting of the COVID-19 pandemic on subsequent rates of reporting experiencing depressive symptoms, relative to responses to questions lacking such primers. Data, collected through surveys using a within-subjects design where all participants were exposed to both conditions, was used from 126 participants from the University of Texas at Dallas. Results showed that when responding to questions using primed language that included prompts normalizing and contextualizing depressive symptoms within the COVID-19 pandemic (experimental group), participants reported experiencing depressive symptoms at a similar rate to when participants responded to questions about depressive symptoms that lacked such prompts (control group). Ultimately, there were no notable differences between the two groups. Theoretical and practical implications were discussed.

Investigators: Uma Chatterjee, Stephanie Hammett, & Rebecca Nichols

Literature Review: The Power of Psilocybin-Assisted Therapy

Research Question: This literature review will be exploring the question of if psilocybin-assisted therapy for mental health conditions currently treated by antidepressants has a higher efficacy rate than antidepressants; and if so, what the mechanisms are of psilocybin that result in its differentiated success.

Author: Uma Chatterjee

Human Subjects Protection Training Certificate
Let's connect on Instagram!