• 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.


    Participate in a paid research study! Click here to be contacted about research opportunities


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

    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 contact us about this study, please fill out this brief form:

    Heroes Circle Study

    Parents of 2nd and 3rd grade students in the Oak Park School district, or 2nd-4th graders at Farber Hebrew Elementary:


    You may be eligible for an online survey survey to learn about how families are coping with COVID-19. Details will come soon.


    Please call, text, or email the research team for more information: (385) 482-0421 or thinklab@wayne.edu



    PATH Study

    The Peer Adjustment and Teen Health (PATH) study is an online survey study to learn about health and experiences in 10-14 year-old teenagers. This study will be recruiting soon - check back for more information.



    Research Funding

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

  • 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

    Human Pharmacology Lab

    PI: Mark Greenwald, Ph.D.

    Pediatric Hematology/Oncology

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

    Behavioral and Field Research Core

    Scientific Director: Felicity Harper, Ph.D.

  • Contact Us!

    You're awesome. Let's talk.






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