Virginia Sturm, PhD

Associate Professor of Neurology
UC San Francisco
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Key Areas: affective neuroscience, emotion, neurodegenerative disease, autonomic nervous system, social behavior

The central goal of Virginia Sturm’s research is to advance our understanding of the neurobiological basis of emotion and affective symptoms. Alterations in emotion are common across neurological and psychiatric disorders and contribute to significant suffering and disability. However, the neurobiological mechanisms that underlie affective symptoms are poorly understood.

Emotions offer a critical window into mental health and can be modified with simple strategies to improve well-being and reduce dementia risk.

Sturm’s interdisciplinary research integrates techniques of psychophysiology, affective science, psychology, neurology, neuroscience, and neuroimaging to determine how the brain produces emotions and how these symptoms go awry across many clinical disorders. A better understanding of the biological systems that support emotion will be essential for improving the diagnosis and treatment of affective symptoms and will inspire novel interventions that harness emotions to reduce dementia risk worldwide.

In addition to her research, Sturm leads the Monitoring and Evaluation team at GBHI, tracking day-to-day activities and measuring the impact of the fellowship program.

Bio: Virginia Sturm, PhD is an Associate Professor at UCSF in the Departments of Neurology and Psychiatry. Dr. Sturm is the director of the Clinical Affective Neuroscience Laboratory. After undergraduate work at Georgetown University, she received her PhD in clinical psychology at the University of California, Berkeley and completed her clinical internship and postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco in neuropsychology. Her research focuses on identifying the neural systems that support emotion and social behavior in neurodegenerative disease and neurodevelopmental disorders.