Contact Information

Psychiatry: Faculty and Staff

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
Department of Psychiatry
4301 Jones Bridge Road
Bethesda, Maryland 20814-4799
Phone: (301) 295-3294
Fax: (301) 295-1536

Pubmed listing

Frances H. Gabbay, Ph.D.

Frances H. Gabbay, Ph.D., is Research Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and of Medical and Clinical Psychology at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, and Co-Director of the Clinical Psychophysiology and Psychopharmacology Laboratory (CPPL) in the Department of Psychiatry.  She also holds an appointment as Guest Researcher in the Section on Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology in the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute of Mental Health.

Dr. Gabbay received a B.S. in Psychology and Sociology and a Ph.D. in Psychology from Indiana University.  She was a Traveling Scholar of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation and a Fellow in Behavioral Genetics in the Departments of Genetics and Psychology at the University of Minnesota.  After receiving her Ph.D., she completed a postdoctoral fellowship in psychopharmacology at the University of Minnesota, and held faculty positions in the Department of Genetics and Cell Biology at the University of Minnesota and in the Department of Mental Hygiene at The Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Gabbay received a New Investigator Award from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to begin her research program on risk for drug abuse.  Her approach is guided by the view that, to identify genetic loci relevant to drug abuse disorders, and to elucidate environmental contributors, it is necessary to define phenotypes that are more elemental than the manifest symptoms of those disorders.  Dr. Gabbay and her colleagues in the CPPL consider executive control as a set of component processes—including attention and inhibition—subserved by distinct neural substrates and indexed by specific components of the event-related brain potential (ERP).  Insofar as these different ERP components distinguish among groups at varying risk for drug abuse, they may comprise elemental phenotypes for drug abuse.  In a recently completed a study, Dr. Gabbay and her coworkers found that ERP indices of attention, recorded after placebo and after amphetamine, distinguish healthy young adults who selected amphetamine vs. placebo in a behavioral preference procedure.  Most recently, Dr. Gabbay and her colleagues in the CPPL were awarded a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to investigate ERP measures of inhibitory control that may mediate the phenotypic relationship between drug abuse and personality measures of disinhibition.  In addition, Dr. Gabbay has studied the subjective effects of stimulant drugs: On the basis of her findings, she proposed that heightened sensitivity to these effects may comprise an endophenotype for drug and alcohol abuse (Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 2005).  Dr. Gabbay has served as Principal Investigator on three grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, as well as on grants from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the United States Army, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

In addition to her program of research on risk factors for drug abuse, Dr. Gabbay participated in a McDonnell Foundation Symposium on Emotion as an expert on the role of genetic factors in emotion.  This effort culminated in a review paper, published in Psychological Science.  She also participated in an important departmental effort funded by the Defense Women’s Health Research Program.  Dr. Gabbay’s contribution comprised an evaluation of the effects on military readiness of sex differences in exposure and response to stress, an effort that included an edited volume entitled Sex differences, stress, and military readiness.  Dr. Gabbay contributed three chapters to this volume, including an overview, entitled, “Beyond the mythology: A constructive approach to sex differences and military readiness.”  In this chapter, Dr. Gabbay and her co-authors proposed a productive approach to the interpretation of sex differences, with the goal of maintaining a force that effectively utilizes women and men.

Dr. Gabbay is active in the Society for Psychophysiological Research (SPR), currently serving on the Board of Directors and as representative to the Psychology and Neuroscience sections of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  In 2001, she served as Scientific Program Chair for the annual meeting of SPR.  In addition, Dr. Gabbay is a member of the Behavior Genetics Association and the Research Society on Alcoholism, and has presented her work at the annual meetings of these societies as well as those of the Society for Psychophysiological Research and the College on Problems of Drug Dependence.  Dr. Gabbay has served on two National Institute on Drug Abuse Special Emphasis Panels and was Associate Editor for Psychophysiology.  She also serves as an ad hoc reviewer for numerous journals representing the broadly diverse fields of psychophysiology, drug and alcohol abuse, and genetics.