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Postbac Seminar Series: May 27, 2021

Series: Science Skills; Speaking

May 27, 2021

This event is recommended for: Postbacs.

Science isn't complete until the results have been shared with others, and talking about your results is one of the important ways of making them public. The Postbac Seminar Series provides a unique opportunity for two Postbacs each month to present their research to a diverse audience of their peers.  The atmosphere is relatively informal and non-threatening.  The series allows Postbacs who attend to learn about the different types of biomedical research being conducted at the NIH while meeting other postbacs.  Read more about the seminar series.


The meeting information will be shared by email. If you have questions, please contact Ryan Bertoli <> and Madaleine Niznikiewicz <>.


This month's presenters are:

Name: Charlotte Talham (NIMHD)

Title: Social determinants of health and asthma profiles of US sexual minority adults: A latent class analysis

Summary: Sexual minority populations, particularly women, are more likely to have asthma than their heterosexual counterparts. Social determinants of health such as socioeconomic status and race/ethnicity are also known to be associated with asthma prevalence, however, their combined effect is understudied. We conducted latent class analysis (LCA) on a subpopulation of US sexual minority adults (N=1,097) using 2001-2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data. The LCA included socioecological indicators with current asthma as the distal outcome. A four-class solution was identified as the best-fit model for our analysis. Our results showed that the profiles with the highest likelihoods of asthma were majority bisexual and female, while the low-asthma-likelihood profiles were homosexual and male.

Bio: Charlotte Talham is a postbaccalaureate fellow in the Health Disparities and Geospatial Transdisciplinary Research Lab at the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD). Under the guidance of Dr. Faustine Williams, Ms. Talham is involved in research on the associations between social determinants of health and disparities among im/migrant populations. Ms. Talham received her B.S. in mathematics, B.S. in statistics and B.A. in economics from the University of Florida in 2020.


Name: Rachel Bernstein (NIMH)

Title: Assessing the Structure of Pediatric Anxiety Symptoms

Summary: Pediatric anxiety disorders are characterized by a propensity for enhanced fear responses in anticipation of potential threat. While the DSM classifies anxiety into various distinct diagnostic categories (Social Anxiety Disorder, Separation Anxiety, Panic Disorder, etc.), clinical observations and research often find substantial homotypic comorbidity, which complicates diagnosis and treatment. Recent evidence suggests that these diagnostic categories reflect fully interconnected symptom domains, providing evidence for a conceptualization of pediatric anxiety as involving a shared core perturbation that manifests along different domains, rather than distinct disorders. These findings encourage continued research on commonalities and links among different symptom manifestations of pediatric anxiety, in hope to inform and better specify treatment targets for affected individuals.

Bio: Rachel graduated from the University of Michigan in 2020 with a B.A. in Biopsychology, Cognition and Neuroscience. She is currently working with Dr. Daniel Pine’s group at NIMH. Rachel’s research interests focus on the development and maintenance of pediatric anxiety disorders, and other internalizing problems in youth.


Name: Amanda Jiang (NINR)

Research Title: The Effect of Virtual Mindfulness-Based Interventions on Sleep Quality: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials

Research Summary: Disrupted sleep affects approximately 40% of the general and healthcare populations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) have demonstrated efficacy in improving sleep quality and may serve as an alternative treatment for sleep disturbance. During the pandemic, virtually administered MBIs can circumvent some of the challenges encountered with in-person delivery of MBIs. The objective of this study is to systematically review randomized controlled trials that employed a virtual MBI in populations with sleep disturbance. Findings suggest that virtual MBIs are equivalent to evidence-based treatments, and to a limited extent, more effective than non-specific active controls at reducing some aspects of sleep disturbance. Overall, virtual MBIs are more effective at improving sleep quality than usual care and waitlist controls. Preliminary evidence also provides some support that virtual MBIs have a long-term effect on sleep quality. 

Bio: Amanda completed her A.A. at Wilbur Wright College and B.A. at Smith College, where she majored in psychology with a specialization in eating disorders. She joined the Brain Injury Unit (NINR/NIH) as a UGSP Postbaccalaureate Fellow in June 2020. Amanda currently works with Dr. Jessica Gill and Dr. Heather Rusch on studies examining the efficacy of mindfulness and cognitive-behavioral interventions for post-traumatic stress disorder and insomnia.