Current Studies


OCS (Task Control Circuit Targets for Obsessive Compulsive Behaviors in Children)

Principal Investigators: Rachel Marsh, PhD; Kate Fitzgerald, MD.
This research study examines brain functioning in children with and without OCD. For children with OCD, this study includes a thorough diagnostic evaluation, a full course of CBT (12 sessions), and an MRI scan before and after treatment. For children without OCD, this study includes a thorough diagnostic evaluation and 1-2 MRI scans. All study procedures, including the evaluation, treatment, and MRI scans are at no cost. In addition, your child will receive compensation up to $300 in the form of a gift card for participating in this study. 

For more information please see Brain Imaging Study for Children and/or contact:

Caroline Risdon (Caroline.Risdon@nyspi.columbia.edu)


INHIBITORY CONTROL (Intergenerational Transmission of Deficits in Self-Regulatory Control)

Principal Investigators: Marisa Spann, PhD; Rachel Marsh, PhD; Catherine Monk, PhD.
Self-regulatory deficits are common across a variety of childhood psychiatric disorders in which children have difficulty regulating their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. By leveraging previously collected prenatal and neonatal data and acquiring new data from mother-infant dyads, this study will identify brain-based markers of regulatory deficits that are passed inter-generationally and persist from infancy to childhood. This study includes pregnant woman and mothers between the ages of 14 and 45 years old. The children enrolled in this study will be given age-appropriate measures of regulatory control processes at 4 months, 14 months and again during preschool and school age. MRI data will be collected from neonates and school age children who were previously scanned as neonates. These measures will also be collected from the mothers, allowing us to associate maternal neonatal indices of self-regulatory control. Thus, this study will uncover trajectories of control processes and circuits from infancy to school age and the intergenerational transmission of regulatory deficits from mothers to children. 

For more information please contact:

Martine Fontaine (martine.fontaine@nyspi.columbia.edu)


COMBO (The COVID-19 Mother-Baby Outcomes Study)

Principal Investigators: Rachel Marsh, PhD; Catherine Monk, PhD; Dani Dumitriu, MD.
The COMBO study explores the hypothesis that prenatal SARS-CoV-2 exposure affects mother and child brain and behavior and demonstrates that the socioemotional health of each member of the mother-child dyad is intrinsically related to that of the other. COMBO tests this hypothesis through multimodal MRI as well as olfaction testing, wearable in-home physiological recordings, and observational mother-child assessments. PIs Dani Dumitriu, pediatrician, Dr. Catherine Monk, clinical psychologist embedded in Ob/Gyn, and Dr. Marsh lead the imaging portion of COMBO, which looks at socioemotional circuits (fronto-limbic) and behavior (caregiving and bonding) in 100 mother-child dyads from prepartum to 18 months postpartum. Detecting COVID-19-related mother-child neurobehavioral effects will provide insights into interventions for and contribute significantly to children’s developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD) and stress science. 

For more information please see the COVID-19 Mother Baby Outcomes Study and/or contact:

Grace Smotrich (grace.smotrich@nyspi.columbia.edu)


NOSI Maternal Health

Principal Investigators: Rachel Marsh, PhD; Catherine Monk, PhD; Dani Dumitriu, MD

This project explores structural racism and discrimination, economic marginalization, and other social determinants of health as drivers of maternal mental health inequities. Our team at Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) has pioneered a large multidisciplinary consortium, the COVID-19 Mother Baby Outcomes (COMBO) Initiative, to address the impacts of COVID-19 on mother-infant dyads in an understudied population (predominantly Latinx of low socioeconomic status [SES]). 

For more information please contact:

Diana More (diana.more@nyspi.columbia.edu)


Akili-OCD (Cognitive Control Targets for the Treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in Young Children)

Principal Investigators: Rachel Marsh, PhD; David Pagliaccio, PhD; Kate Fitzgerald, MD

Cognitive behavioral therapy with exposure and response prevention (EXRP) is the gold-standard, first-line treatment for children with OCD. However, as many as 40% of pediatric patients treated fail to remit. Based on the existing literature and our preliminary data showing that cognitive control functions are altered in children with OCD, this study is designed to test the hypothesis that cognitive control training (CT) should engage the Cognitive System to prime and augment EXRP response. This proof-of-concept study will be conducted to determine if CT enhances cognitive control behavioral performance in children ages 8-12 years old with OCD. After children and their parents complete questionnaires and clinical interviews, children will receive 4 weeks of an at-home computerized cognitive training program (Akili). Akili is delivered on an iPad (25 minutes/day, 5 days/week). Styled as a child-friendly video game, the Akili CT taps focused attention, response inhibition, and working memory using a series of games to engage cognitive control processes. Children will complete neurobehavioral assessments at three visits, before, during, and after CT. Participants will also complete MRI scans before and after CT and then be offered a course of gold-standard CBT EXRP (or community referrals) after CT.

For more information please contact:

Caroline Risdon (caroline.risdon@nyspi.columbia.edu)

  • Principal Investigator:

    Rachel Marsh, PhD
    This research study aims to explore how an iPad-based cognitive training intervention can help children with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). This study will take place at Columbia University in Manhattan. Participation in this study includes a clinical evaluation, games, puzzles, questionnaires, 2 MRI scans, and completing the cognitive training games at home on an iPad loaned to you. Your child can receive compensation up to $400 in the form of a gift card for participating in this study and cognitive behavioral therapy at no cost after completing this study.
  • Principal Investigator:

    Rachel Marsh, PhD
    This research study aims to explore how an iPad-based cognitive training intervention can help children with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). This study will take place at Columbia University in Manhattan. Participation in this study includes a clinical evaluation, games, puzzles, questionnaires, 2 MRI scans, and completing the cognitive training games at home on an iPad loaned to you. Your child can receive compensation up to $400 in the form of a gift card for participating in this study and cognitive behavioral therapy at no cost after completing this study.