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Biological Stress Responses and Risk for Suicidal Behavior among Transgender Adolescents: A Pilot Study

2021 Young Investigator Grant
Amount Awarded: $89,965
Focus Areas: Neurobiological Studies, Psychosocial Studies

Brian Thoma, Ph.D.

Brian Thoma, Ph.D.
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Mentor: Nadine Melhem, Ph.D.

Inside the Research

Transgender adolescents have high risk for suicidal behavior, and elevated rates of suicidal ideation and behavior in this population likely result from disproportionate experiences of psychosocial stress endured by transgender youth. We will examine the biology of risk for suicidal behavior over time among transgender youth, including how psychosocial stressors and biological dysregulation in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and inflammatory pathways contribute to risk for suicidal behavior within this vulnerable population.