Dr. Eisenlohr-Moul joins the Women’s Mental Health Research Program in January 2018.
Dr. Eisenlohr-Moul is a clinical scientist studying emotional, cognitive and behavioral responses to changing hormones across the menstrual cycle. Primary outcomes of interest are suicidality, substance abuse, and dysregulated interpersonal functioning (e.g., the interpersonal symptoms of borderline personality disorder or BPD).
The first focus of the Eisenlohr-Moul laboratory is the use of experimental clinical trial methods to examine the effects of perimenstrual withdrawal from estradiol, progesterone, and their neurosteroid metabolites (e.g., allopregnanolone) on acute suicide risk. Early experimental data from Dr. Eisenlohr-Moul’s K99 award indicates that perimenstrual hormone stabilization (vs. withdrawal under placebo) prevents perimenstrual risk for acute suicidality. Further work will compare the effects of estradiol and progesterone stabilization, and will probe various potential neurobiological mediators of these experimental effects. This program of research may help to clarify the basic neurobiological mechanisms of acute changes in suicide risk for both females and males, and may eventually lead to the development of treatments that anticipate and prevent suicide attempts among at-risk individuals.
The second focus of the laboratory is the identification, characterization, and reliable diagnosis of subtypes of psychiatric symptom change across the menstrual cycle. At the diagnostic level, this includes the development of reliable methods for differential diagnosis of (1) the new DSM-5 diagnosis of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), (2) perimenstrual exacerbation of underlying psychiatric disorder (e.g., BPD), and (3) PMDD with comorbid psychiatric diagnoses. During her fellowship in reproductive mood disorders, Dr. Eisenlohr-Moul developed and published the Carolina Premenstrual Assessment Scoring System (or C-PASS), the first fully standardized computerized method for making the new DSM-5 diagnosis of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder using two months of daily symptom ratings. Dr. Eisenlohr-Moul also works with large observational datasets of daily symptom data to examine potential symptom timing subgroups within each of these diagnostic categories that may help to clarify individual differences in the pathophysiologic underpinnings of perimenstrual symptoms that cut across the above diagnostic categories (e.g., early luteal vs. late luteal symptom onset). This work may inform the development of targeted treatments based on the reliable assessment of individual differences in perimenstrual symptom change dynamics.
Dr. Eisenlohr-Moul received her PhD in Clinical Psychology in 2014 from the University of Kentucky, where her training emphasized translational clinical science, endocrine and immune factors in psychopathology, and advanced statistics. She completed her clinical internship at Duke University Medical Center from 2013-2014 in full-model Dialectical Behavior Therapy, a highly-structured, evidence-based treatment for adults presenting with chronic suicidality. From 2014-2017, Dr. Eisenlohr-Moul received intensive postdoctoral training in the pathophysiology of reproductive mood disorders (premenstrual dysphoric disorder, perinatal mood disorder, and perimenopausal mood disorder) at the Center for Women’s Mood Disorders at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She received a prestigious K99/R00 award from the National Institute of Mental Health in 2016; her work at UIC will begin in 2018 with completion of an R00-funded experiment.