Psychiatric & Neurodevelopmental Genetics Unit

The mission of PNGU is to identify and characterize the genetic basis of psychiatric, behavioral, and neurodevelopmental disorders and to translate these discoveries to improvements in clinical care and public health.

NAME Alisha Pollastri, Ph.D. Research Fellow
Psychiatric and Neurodevelopmental Genetics Unit
Center for Human Genetic Research
Massachusetts General Hospital
Richard B. Simches Research Center
185 Cambridge Street
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: 617-724-1798
Email: pollastri@pngu.mgh.harvard.edu


Dr. Pollastri is a graduate of Duke University (BA, Psychology and Biological Anthropology) and Clark University (MA and PhD, Clinical Psychology). Her research interests include the ways in which the chronic stress of a low-income, urban environment may interact with genes to influence psychopathology. Dr. Pollastri is completing a post-doctoral fellowship in psychiatric genetics and clinical neuroscience at MGH, and has developed a research program in aggression genetics in order to elucidate the biological and environmental influences on pathological aggression and related disorders (e.g., conduct disorder, intermittent explosive disorder, and antisocial personality disorder).

Publications:

  • Pollastri, A. R., Cardemil, E. V., & Addis, M. (In preparation).  Emotional expressivity mediates the relationship between urbanicity and adjustment in adolescent males.

  • Pollastri, A. R. & Cardemil, E. V. (Submitted).  Gender and aggression in urban youth. 

  • Pollastri, A. R., Cardemil, E. V., & O’Donnell, E. H.  (2010).  Self-esteem in pure bullies and bully/victims:  A longitudinal analysis.  Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 25, 1489-1502.

  • O’Donnell, E.H., Moreau, M., Cardemil, E.V., & Pollastri, A. R. (2010). Interparental conflict, parenting, and childhood depression in a diverse urban population: The role of general cognitive style. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 39, 12-22.

  • Pollastri, A.R., Pokrywa, M.L., Kranzler, H.R., & Gelernter, J. (2005).  Incentive program decreases no-shows in non-treatment substance abuse research.  Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 13, 376-380. 

  • Pierucci-Lagha, S., Gelernter, J., Feinn, R., Cubells, J., Pearson, D., Pollastri, A., Farrer, L., Kranzler, H. (2005).  Diagnostic reliability of the Semi-Structured Assessment for Drug Dependence and Alcoholism (SSADDA).  Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 80, 303-312.

Presentations and Posters:

  • McGrath, L.M., Pollastri, A.R., Lee, P.H., Block, S., Kunwar, P., Haddad, S., Gallagher, P., Gerber, G., Crane, J., Snider, M., Snidman, N., Kagan, J., Biederman, J., Rosenbaum, J., Hirshfeld-Becker, D., Schwartz, C., Smoller, J. W. (2012, April). Williams-Beuren Syndrome as a Neurodevelopmental Model for Childhood Anxiety Disorders.  Presented as part of a symposium on “Biological and Environmental Trajectories of Early Clinical Manifestations of Anxiety” at the 2012 Anxiety Disorders Association of America Annual Conference, Washington, DC.

  • Reigeluth, C.S., Pollastri, A.R., Cardemil, E.V., & Addis, M.E. (2012, March). Emotional Expressivity in Urban Adolescent Boys: Impacts of Policing of Masculinity and Other Interpersonal Events on Disclosure. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence, Vancouver.

  • Cardemil, E.V., Pollastri, A.R., & Goldman, D. (2012, March). Urban norms as risk or protective factor? Development of the Urban Youth Norms Questionnaire. In K. Grant (Chair), Advances in Culturally and Contextually Relevant Measures for Adolescents of Color.  Symposium conducted at the annual meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence, Vancouver.

  • Reigeluth, C.S., Pollastri, A.R., Cardemil, E.V., & Addis, M.E. (2011, November). Emotional Expressivity and Conformity to Masculine Norms in Urban Adolescent Boys. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, Toronto.

  • Pollastri, A.R. & Cardemil, E.V. (2011, June). Emotional Expression with Friends Protects Urban Adolescent Males. In Sharon Lambert (Chair), Social Dimensions of Urban Environments: Understanding Risk and Protection to Inform Prevention. Symposium presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Prevention Research (SPR), Washington DC.

  • Pollastri, A.R. & Cardemil, E.V. (2010, March). Stay Cool and Be Real: The Relationship Between Emotional Flexibility and Depressive Symptoms in Urban Adolescent Boys. In Sharon Lambert (Chair), Considering Context to Understand Depressive Symptoms in Low Income and Urban Youth. Symposium presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Adolescence (SRA), Philadelphia, PA.

  • Pollastri, A.R., Cardemil, E.V. & O’Donnell, E.H. (2008, March).  Cognitive Coping and Depression: Racial/Ethnic Differences in Low-Income, Urban Early Adolescents.  In A.M. Terranova (Chair), Developmental Aspects of Coping Strategies and Styles: Implications for Adolescent Behavioral and Mental Health. Symposium presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Adolescence (SRA), Chicago, IL.

  • Pollastri, A.R. & Cardemil, E.V. (2007, August). Neighborhood Violence, Parental Messages, and Adolescent Aggression.  Poster session presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association (APA), San Francisco, CA. 

  • Pollastri, A.R. & Cardemil, E.V. (2007, March). Adherence to gender norms and the expression of aggression in urban youth.  Poster session presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD), Boston, MA.

  • Pollastri, A.R. & Cardemil, E.V. (2006, March). The relationships among bullying, victimization, and depression in low-income, urban adolescents. In A.R. Pollastri (Chair), Bullying, aggression, and peer victimization in understudied populations.  Symposium conducted at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Adolescence (SRA), San Francisco.

  • Cardemil, E.V., O'Donnell, E.H., Pollastri, A.R., Esposito, C., & Spirito, A. (2006, March). Cognition and context: The development of depressive symptoms in low-income, urban children. In E.V. Cardemil (Chair), The development of depressive symptoms in low-income, urban youth. Symposium conducted at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Adolescence (SRA), San Francisco.

  • Pollastri, A., O'Donnell, E., & Cardemil, E.  (2005, May).  Explanatory Style, Perceived Community Disorganization, and Depressive Symptoms in Urban Children.  Poster session presented at the 13th Annual Meeting of the Society for Prevention Research (SPR), Washington D.C.

  • Pollastri, A., Cardemil, E., & O'Donnell, E.  (2005, November).  Predicting Depressive Symptoms in Urban Children.  Poster session presented at the 39th Annual Convention of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT), Washington D.C.

  • O'Donnell, E., Pollastri, A., & Cardemil, E.  (2005, August). Cognition and Context: Depressive symptoms in low-income, urban children. Poster session presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association (APA), Washington, D.C.

 

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