Biological Affect Modulation (BAM) Lab

Director: Kymberly Young


The Biological Affect Modulation (BAM) lab is devoted to understanding onset and recovery from emotional disorders, such as depression and anxiety, with a specific focus on developing new neuroscience-derived behavioral treatments, including real-time fMRI neurofeedback. Using behavioral, physiological (EEG, galvanic skin response, heart rate, respiration), and functional imaging methods we seek to understand the physiological mechanisms of emotional information and autobiographical memory processing with the ultimate goal of developing techniques that allow individuals to modify these mechanisms directly (via real-time fMRI neurofeedback, for example).

The BAM lab operates through the Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh

The BAM Lab is seeking a post-doctoral fellow! Click for more information!



  1. Young, K.D., Siegle, G.J., Zotev, V., Phillips, R., Misaki, M., Yuan, H., Drevets, W.C., Bodurka, J. Randomized clinical trial of real-time fMRI amygdala neurofeedback for major depressive disorder: Effects on symptoms and autobiographical memory recall. Am J Psychiatry. 2017: 174(8):748-755. PMID: 28407727
  2. Young, K.D. Misaki, M., Harmer, C.J., Victor, T., Zotev, V., Phillips, R., Siegle, G.J., Drevets, W.C., Bodurka, J. Real-Time fMRI Amygdala Neurofeedback Changes Positive Information Processing in Major Depressive Disorder. Biol Psychiatry. 2017: 82(8):578-586. NIHMS 863613
  3. Young, K.D., Bodurka, J., Drevets, W.C. Functional Neuroimaging of Sex Differences in Autobiographical Memory Recall in Depression. Psychol Med. 2017: 47(15)2640-2652. PMID: 28446254
  4. Young, K.D., Siegle, G., Misaki, M., Zotev, V., Phillips, R., Drevets, W.C., Bodurka, J. Altered Task-Based and Resting-State Amygdala Functional Connectivity Following Real-Time fMRI Amygdala Neurofeedback Training in Major Depressive Disorder. NeuroImage: Clinical. 2017: 17:691-703. PMID: 29270356
  5. Himmelstein, P., Barb, S., Finlayson, M.A., Young, K.D. Linguistic Analysis of the Autobiographical Memories of Individuals with Major Depressive Disorder. PLOS ONE. 2018: 13(11): e0207814. PMID: 30475918
  6. Sorger, B., Scharnowski, F., Linden, D.E.J., Hampson, M., Young, K.D. Control freaks: Towards optimal selection of control conditions for fMRI neurofeedback studies. NeuroImage. 2019:186:256-265. PMID: 30423429
  7. Young, K., Bodurka, J., Drevets, W.C. Differential Neural Correlates of Autobiographical Memory Recall in Bipolar and Unipolar Depression. Bipolar Disord. 2016: 18:571-582. PubMed PMID: 27813234
  8. Young, K., Preskorn, S., Victor, T., Misaki, M., Bodurka, J., Drevets, W.C. The effect of mineralocorticoid and glucocorticoid receptor antagonism on autobiographical memory recall and amygdala response to implicit emotional stimuli. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2016: 19(9):1-11. PubMed PMID: 27207909
  9. Young, K.D., Drevets, W.C., Dantzer, R., Teague, K.T., Bodurka, J., Savitz, J.S. Kynurenine Pathway Metabolites are Associated with Hippocampal Activity during Autobiographical Memory Recall in Patients with Depression. Brain Behav Immun. 2016: 56:335-342. PubMed PMID: 27091600
  10. Zotev, V., Yuan, H., Misaki, M., Phillips, R., Young, K.D., Feldner, M.T., Bodurka, J.B. Correlation between amygdala BOLD activity and frontal EEG asymmetry during real-time fMRI neurofeedback training in patients with depression. NeuroImage: Clinical. 2016: 11:224-38. PubMed PMID: 26958462
  11. Young, K., Drevets, W.C., Bodurka, J., Preskorn, S. S. Amygdala activity during autobiographical memory recall as a biomarker for residual symptoms in patients remitted from depression. Psychiatry Res. Neuroimaging. 2016: 248:159-61. PubMed PMID: 26809279
  12. Young, K., Siegle, G., Bodurka, J., Drevets, W.C. Amygdala activity during autobiographical memory recall in depressed and vulnerable individuals; Association with symptom severity and autobiographical overgenerality. Am J Psychiatry. 2016;173(1):78-89. PubMed PMID: 26541813.
  13. Young, K., Bellgowan, P.S.F., Bodurka, J., Drevets, W.C. Autobiographical Memory Deficits Correlate with Gray Matter Volume in Depressed and High Risk Participants. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2015 Nov;10(11):1588-95. PubMed PMID: 25925269.
  14. Misaki, M., Savitz, J., Zotev, V., Phillips, R., Yuan, H., Young, K., Drevets, W., Bodurka, J. Contrast enhancement by combining T1- and T2- weighted structural brain MR images. Magn Reson Med. 2015;74:1609-1620. PubMed PMID: 25533337.
  15. Young, K., Bellgowan, P.S.F., Bodurka, J., Drevets, W.C. Functional neuroimaging correlates of autobiographical memory deficits in subjects at risk for depression. Brain Sci. 2015: 5(2):144-64. PubMed PMID: 25919972.
  16. Yuan, H., Young, K., Phillips, R., Zotev, V., Misaki, M., Bodurka, J. Resting state functional connectivity modulation and sustained changes after real-time fMRI neurofeedback training in depression. Brain Connect. 2014: 4(9):690-701. PubMed PMID: 25329241.
  17. Young, K., Bellgowan, P.S.F., Bodurka, J., Drevets, W.C. Neurophysiological correlates of autobiographical memory deficits in currently and formerly depressed subjects. Psychol Med. 2014: 44(14):2951-63. PubMed PMID: 25065602.
  18. Young, K., Zotev, V., Phillips, R., Misaki, M., Yuan, H., Drevets, W.C., Bodurka, J. Real-time fMRI neurofeedback training of amygdala activity in patients with major depressive disorder. PLoS One. 2014: 9(2):e88785. PubMed PMID: 24523939.
  19. Young, K., Bellgowan, P.S.F., Bodurka., J., Drevets, W.C. Functional neuroimaging of sex differences in autobiographical memory recall. Hum Brain Mapp. 2013: 34(12):3320-32. PubMed PMID: 22807028.
  20. Zotev, V., Phillips, R., Young, K., Drevets, W., Bodurka, J. Prefrontal control of the amygdala during real-time fMRI neurofeedback training of emotion regulation. PLoS One. 2013: 8(11):e79184. PubMed PMID: 24223175.
  21. Young, K., Preskorn, S.H. Neuroscience basis of corticosteroid-induced changes in human cognitive and emotional processing: Implications for affective illness. J Psychiart Pract. 2013: 19(4):309-15. PubMed PMID: 23852106.
  22. Young, K., Bellgowan, P.S.F., Bodurka, J., Drevets, W.C. Behavioral and neuropsychological correlates of autobiographical memory deficits in depressed subjects and individuals at high risk for depression. JAMA Psychiatry. 2013: 70(7):698-708. PubMed PMID: 23677007.
  23. Young, K., Erickson, K., Drevets, W.C. Match between cue and memory valence during autobiographical memory recall in depressed subjects versus healthy controls. Psychol Rep. 2012: 111(1):129-48. PubMed PMID: 23045855.
  24. Young, K., Erickson, K., Drevets, W.C. Differential effects of emotionally versus neutrally cued autobiographical memories on performance of a subsequent cognitive task: Effects of task difficulty. Front Psychol. 2012: 8;3:299. PubMed PMID: 23060823.
  25. Young, K., Erickson, K., Nugent, A., Fromm, S., Mallinger, A., Furey, M., Drevets, W.C. Functional anatomy of autobiographical memory recall deficits in depression. Psychol Med. 2012: 42(2):345-58. PubMed PMID: 21798113.
  26. Young, K., Drevets, W.C., Schulkin, J., Erickson, K. Dose-dependent effects of hydrocortisone infusion of autobiographical memory recall. Behav Neurosci. 2011: 125(5):735-41. PubMed PMID: 21942435.
  27. Young, K. Peynircioğlu, Z.F., Hohman, T.J. Revelation effect in metamemory. Psychon Bull Rev. 2009: 16(5):952-56. PubMed PMID: 19815804.


Neurofeedback Training for Depression

We augment Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for depression with real-time fMRI neurofeedback training to upregulate the amygdala hemodynamic response during positive autobiographical memory recall in order to determine whether amygdala neurofeedback can improve outcomes to CBT.

Risk and Resilience To Major Depressive Disorder

In this longitudinal study, we follow individuals at a high risk for developing depression based on family history to determine the neurobiological mechanisms that predict onset of, or resilience to, experiencing depression. We specifically focus on brain activity during the recall of emotional autobiographical memories.


Dr. Kymberly Young


Dr Kymberly Young

Dr. Young earned a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA, and her M.A. and Ph.D in the Behavior, Cognition and Neuroscience program at American University in Washington DC. During her graduate studies, Dr. Young also received the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) post-baccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA), allowing her to conduct research in the Section on Neuroimaging in Mood and Anxiety Disorders at the National Institute of Mental Health. After receiving her PhD, she was recruited by the founding director of the newly created Laureate Institute for Brain Research (LIBR) in Tulsa OK, Dr. Wayne Drevets, to complete her postdoctoral training. In 2014, Dr. Young was awarded the NIH’s Pathway to Independence K99/R00 award for her ongoing work investigating the therapeutic potential of real-time fMRI amygdala neurofeedback, and a NARSAD Young Investigator Award from Brain and Behavior Research Foundation in 2015. In April of 2016 Dr. Young joined the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine as an assistant professor of psychiatry. Dr. Young’s research focuses on understanding the physiological mechanisms of positive emotional information and autobiographical memory processing in healthy individuals and individuals with mood and anxiety disorders through behavioral, physiological, and functional imaging methods. Her focus is on understanding onset and recovery from mental illness and developing new neuroscience-derived neurobehavioral interventions, including real-time fMRI and EEG neurofeedback, which target deficits in the processing of positive stimuli in patients with mood-disorders.

Scott Barb

Research Project Coordinator

Scott Barb

Scott Barb earned his Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh, and is currently attending the university’s social work program for a Masters. Scott has worked in both mental health and addiction clinical settings, as well as in research settings with schizophrenia, autism, and depression populations. Scott is focused on understanding the efficacy of evidence based treatment on minority groups and enhancing non-pharmaceutical interventions for those populations.

Laurie Compère

Postdoctoral Scholar

Dr Compere

Dr. Compère earned a PhD in Psychology at Paris Sorbonne University in Paris, France and has a title of clinician neuropsychologist in France. Her PhD focused on sex and gender differences in autobiographical memory by attempting to distinguish the biological and social factors underlying the observed differences between men and women in autobiographical memory, behaviorally and using fMRI. She is completing her postdoctoral training under the guidance of Dr. Young since October 2018 in the BAM lab of Pittsburgh University - School of Medicine, PA. Dr. Compère research focuses on investigating the therapeutic potential of real-time fMRI amygdala neurofeedback and individualized treatments in major depressive disorder. Given the differences in men's and women's prevalence of anxiety and mood disorder, her focus is on investigating how biological or social factors can explain those differences in depression prevalence.

Sarah Lazzaro

Research Specialist

Sarah Lazzaro

Sarah graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2018 with a Bachelor of Philosophy in Neuroscience and Psychology, with minors in Chemistry, English Literature, and Studio Arts. Her research interests include mood disorders, metacognition, and neural basis of cognitive processes. She is a member of Nu Rho Psi National Honor Society in Neuroscience and Psi Chi International Honor Society in Psychology. Her prior research experience includes work with EEG, fMRI, and tDCS in cognition across the human lifespan, from number sense in infants to development of executive control in adolescence to attenuation of cognitive decline in older adults. She lives with one black cat and too many plants to count.

Contact Info

For interest in our studies, please contact Sarah Lazzaro


Suite 420-B
3501 Forbes Ave
Pittsburgh PA 15213