• Department of

    Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences

  • About

    THINK Lab stands for Trauma History Investigation of Neurodevelopment in Kids. We study the impact of stress and trauma during childhood on brain development in children and adolescents, as well as, pediatric anxiety disorders, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Our research uses several neuroscientific techniques, including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and electroencephalography (EEG).

    Wayne State University

    School of Medicine

    Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience

  • People

    Meet the minds of the THINK Lab

    Hilary Marusak, Ph.D.

    Principal Investigator

    Dr. Marusak is a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, Wayne State University School of Medicine. She is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute for Child and Family Development, a Scientific Member of the Karmanos Cancer Institute, and a Science Advisor for the nonprofit organization Kids Kicking Cancer.

    Breanna Borg

    Research Coordinator

    Breanna is currently a graduate student at Wayne State University School of Medicine working to earn her Master of Public Health (MPH) degree. She earned her Bachelor of Science from Lyman Briggs College at Michigan State University, majoring in neuroscience. Her previous research was done with the Department of Surgery at Children’s Hospital of Michigan, where she focused on trauma (firearm injuries, sink-bathing burns, circumstances surrounding dog bites).

    Austin Morales

    Research Technologist

    Austin is a graduate student at Wayne State University studying for his Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering. He also earned a Bachelor's degree in Biomedical Physics at Wayne State. Austin is interested in structural and functional changes of developing minds subjected to traumatic experiences. Other research interests include procedural memory, long-term potentiation, and fMRI biophysics.

    Aneesh Hehr

    Research Volunteer

    Aneesh is a medical student at Wayne State University School of Medicine. He completed his bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences at Wayne State University. He is interested in pursuing a career in Child & Adolescent Psychiatry and/or Neuropsychiatry.

    Shreya Desai

    Research Volunteer

    Shreya is currently an undergraduate student at Wayne State University, working toward a major in neuroscience and a minor in psychology. She is interested in exploring brain development in children who have experienced trauma and she is also interested in researching the effects of mindfulness on children.

    Saurav Singh

    Research Volunteer

    Saurav is currently a fourth year political science and neuroscience double major at Wayne State. Saurav's interest in neuroscience comes from his own personal experience with epilepsy. Through working in research, he hopes to know more about neuroscience to help others with his condition.

    Christopher Mishreky

    Research Volunteer

    Christopher is currently a senior undergraduate student at Wayne State University, working toward a major in Public Health Honors and a minor in Business Administration. He is interested in how trauma may affect the neural development of children as well as discovering avenues to promote healthy psychological development.


    For a list of the THINK lab's published research, click here

    Participate in paid research studies!

    Click on this link or scan the QR code to complete a form to be contacted about research opportunities!

    Wayne State ABCD study

    Children/teens ages 10-17 and one parent/legal guardian:


    This two-day study involves ±4 hr visits with us at Wayne State. Includes a noninvasive MRI brain scan, interviews, questionnaires, games, and a blood draw (±1/2 teaspoon). Compensates $180 total. To watch a 5-minute video about what's it like to have an MRI, click here. To be contacted about this study, please fill out this brief form:

    Heroes Circle Study

    This study is partnered with Kids Kicking Cancer, the Oak Park School District, and Farber Hebrew Day School. This study tests whether a new school-based martial arts curriculum can lower anxiety and stress and improve attention among elementary schoolchildren.


    If you are a parent of a 2nd or 3rd grade student at Pepper or Einstein Elementary, or of a 2nd-4th grade student at Farber, you may be eligible to earn $70 for completing an online survey. Click the link below to get started:

    PATH Study

    The Peer Adjustment and Teen Health (PATH) study is an online survey study to learn about teen health. If you are a parent of a 10-14 year old and live in Detroit or the Detroit Metro area, you may be eligible to participate in brief online surveys and earn up to $20 for your participation. To get started, fill out this online research interest form:



    Research Funding

    We are thankful for research support from various funders. Our current research is supported by the National Institute of Mental Health.



    Some of our students made videos to support public investment in science & STEM education.

  • Affiliated Groups

    Collaborators & community partners

    Kids Kicking Cancer

    International nonprofit organization

    Detroit Trauma Project

    PI: Tanja Jovanovic, Ph.D.

    TNP2 Lab

    PI: Christine Rabinak, Ph.D.

    MR Research Facility

    Wayne State Core Facility

    The Drug Lab

    Drs. Mark Greenwald & Leslie Lundahl

    Pediatric Hematology/Oncology

    Division Chief: Jeffrey Taub, M.D., F.A.A.P.

    Behavioral and Field Research Core

    Scientific Director: Felicity Harper, Ph.D.

    Adolescent Relationships in Context Lab

    PI: Hannah Schacter, Ph.D.

  • Contact Us!

    You're awesome. Let's talk.






    Tolan Park Medical Building 3901 Chrysler Service Drive, Suite 2B
    Detroit, MI 48201