Nicole R. Nugent Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior (Research), Associate Professor of Pediatrics (Research)

Nicole Nugent, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Psychiatry and Human Behavior at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and is a child clinical psychologist at the Bradley Hospital and Hasbro Children’s Hospital Research Center. In her clinical role at Lifespan Hospitals, Dr. Nugent serves as director of Resilience and Psychological Services at the Hasbro Pediatric Refugee Clinic, a role that informs research efforts that permit translation to intervention across diverse populations. Dr. Nugent has conducted programmatic research aimed at characterization of neurobiological and psychosocial influences during high risk periods of stress and transition, toward the goal of developing informed and novel secondary and tertiary interventions. Dr. Nugent’s early work focused on the interplay of biomarkers and social context in the acute aftermath of trauma as related to development of stress-sensitive disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder and depression. This early work was expanded through a Mentored Research Scientist Award to incorporate training and research in psychiatric genomics and advanced analytic models, which has permitted Dr. Nugent to continue to develop an integrated program of research aimed at rich characterization of clinically significant and dynamical processes that unfold as at-risk adolescents navigate periods of significant stress. Dr. Nugent’s current research examines adolescent in vivo emotion reactivity as related to social context in the real world during the high-risk transition from inpatient psychiatric hospitalization for suicidal thoughts and behaviors to their home environments. It is expected that early childhood maltreatment experiences will be associated with alterations in the methylation profile of genes involved in the major stress system and that these epigenetic changes will be associated with increased reactivity to social context in adolescents.  

Brown Affiliations

Research Areas

scholarly work


Buckley, B., Nugent, N.R., Sledjeski, E., Raimonde, A.J., Spoonster, E., & Delahanty, D.L. (2004). Initial cardiovascular predictors are not related to PTSD. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 17, 317-324.

Delahanty, D.L., Nugent, N.R., Christopher, N.C., & Walsh, M. (2005). Initial urinary epinephrine and cortisol levels predict acute PTSD symptoms in child trauma victims. Journal of Psychoneuroendocrinology, 30 (2), 121-128.

Delahanty, D.L., & Nugent, N.R. (2006). Predicting PTSD prospectively based on prior trauma history, trauma severity, and immediate biologic responses. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1071, 27-40.

Nugent, N.R., Christopher, N.C., & Delahanty, D.L. (2006). Initial physiological responses and perceived hyperarousal predicts subsequent emotional numbing in child trauma victims. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 19 (3), 349-359.

Nugent, N.R., Christopher, N.C., & Delahanty, D.L. (2006). Emergency medical service and in hospital vital signs and subsequent PTSD symptoms in pediatric injury. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47 (9), 919-926.

Fresco, D.M., Williams, N., & Nugent, N.R. (2006). Flexibility and negative affect: Examining the associations of explanatory flexibility and coping flexibility to each other and to depression and anxiety. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 30, 201-210.

Nugent, N.R., Ostrowski, S., Christopher, N.C., & Delahanty, D.L. (2007). Parental symptoms of PTSD as a moderator of child’s acute biological response and subsequent symptoms of PTSD in pediatric trauma patients. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 32, 309-318.

Koenen, K.C., Nugent, N.R., & Amstadter, A. (2008).  Gene-environment interaction in posttraumatic stress disorder: Review, strategy and new directions for future research. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience: Special Issue on Gene-Environment Interaction and the Anxiety Disorders, 258, 82-96.

Nugent, N. R., Amstadter, A. B., & Koenen, K. C. (2008).  Genetics of PTSD: Informing Clinical Conceptualizations and Promoting Future Research.  American Journal of Medical Genetics C Seminars in Medical Genetics, 148, 127-132.

Amstadter, A.B., Resnick, H.S., Nugent, N.R., Acierno, R., Rheingold, A.A., Minhinnett, R., Kilpatrick, D.G. (2009). Predictors of post-rape trajectories of cigarette smoking. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 22, 113-121.

Koenen, K.C., Amstadter, A.B., & Nugent, N.R. (2009). Gene-environment interactions in PTSD: An update. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 22, 416-426.

Nugent, N.R., Saunders, B.E., Williams, L.M., Hanson, R., Smith, D.W., Fitzgerald, M.M. (2009). Posttraumatic stress symptom trajectories in children living in families reported for family violence. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 22, 460-466.

Amstadter, A.B., Nugent, N.R., Koenen, K.C., Ruggiero, K.J., Acierno, R., Galea, S., Kilpatrick, D.G., Gelernter, J. (2009).  Association between COMT gene and increased smoking following hurricane exposure in an epidemiologic sample. Psychiatry, 72 (4), 360-369. NIHMSID: NIHMS127405

Amstadter, A.B., Nugent, N.R., Koenen, K.C. (2009). Genetics of PTSD: Fear conditioning as a model for future research. Psychiatric Annals, 39 (6), 358-367. PMCID: PMC2749314

Houck, C.D., Nugent, N.R., Lescano, C.M., Peters, A.A., & Brown, L.K. (2010).  Impact of sexual abuse on sexual behaviors, sexual attitudes, and psychological adjustment in alternative schools. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 35 (5), 473-483.

Nugent, N.R., Brown, L.K., Belzer, M., Harper, G.W., Naar-king, S., Nachman, S. (2010). Adherence, sex risk behaviors, and health indicators in high-risk youth living with HIV. Journal of the International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care (JIAPAC), 9(2), 113-115.

Nugent, N.R., Christopher, N.C., Crow, J.P., Luzader, J., Ostrowski, S., Delahanty, D.L. (2010). The efficacy of early propranolol administration at reducing PTSD symptoms in child trauma victims: A pilot study. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 23(2), 282-287.

Cornelis, M., Nugent, N.R., Amstadter, A.B., Koenen, K.C. (2010). Genetics of posttraumatic stress disorder: Review and recommendations. Current Psychiatry Reports, 12(4), 313-326.

Amstadter, A., Nugent, N.R., Yang, B.Z., Saxe, G., Smoller, J., Moorjan, P., Haddad, S., Basu, A., Siburian, R., Fagerness, J., Koenen, K. (2011). Corticotropin Releasing Hormone gene (CRHR1) and PTSD in pediatric injury patients. Special Issue of Disease Markers: Molecular Biology of PTSD, 30 (2-3), 89-99.

Cisler, J., Amstadter, A., & Nugent, N.R. (2011). Personality and assessment of trauma in children and adolescents. Journal of Child and Adolescent Trauma: Understanding and Assessing Trauma in Children and Adolescents, 4 (4), 301-317.

Nugent, N.R., Tyrka, A., Carpenter, L., Price, L. (2011). Gene-environment interactions: Early life stress and risk for depressive and anxiety disorders. Psychopharmacology, 214 (1), 175-196.

Nugent, N.R., Sledjeski, E.M., Christopher, N.C., Delahanty, D.L. (2011). The influence of family environment on dissociation in pediatric injury patients. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 16(4), 485-498.

Brown, L., Nugent, N.R., Houck, C., Lescano, C., Beausoleil, N., Viau, L., Zlotnick, C. (2011). Safe thinking and affect regulation (STAR): HIV prevention in alternative/therapeutic schools. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 50(10), 1065-1074. *Norbert and Charlotte Rieger Award for scientific achievement as best paper published in JAACAP in 2011.

Nugent, N.R., Lally, M., Brown, L., Knopik, V., McGeary, J. (2012). OPRM1 and diagnosis related posttraumatic stress disorder in binge-drinking patients living with HIV. AIDS and Behavior, 16 (8), 2171-2180.

Toulou-Shams, M., Houck, C., Nugent, N.R., Conrad, S.M., Reyes, A., & Brown, L.K. (2012). Alcohol use and HIV risk among juvenile drug court offenders. Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions, 12 (2), 178-188.

Armey, M.F., Crowther, J., Nugent, N.R. (in press). Trauma, experienced aversive affect, and Non-Suicidal Self-Injury (NSSI): A nonlinear analysis. Journal of Child and Adolescent Trauma: Understanding and Assessing Trauma in Children and Adolescents.

Maccani, M.A., Delahanty, D.L., Nugent, N.R., and Berkowitz, S.J. (2012). Pharmacological and secondary prevention of PTSD in youth: Challenges and opportunities for advancement. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 25 (5), 543-550.

Nugent, N.R., Koenen, K., Bradley, B. (2012). Heterogeneity of posttraumatic stress symptoms in a highly traumatized low income, urban African American sample. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 46, 1576-1583.

Delahanty, DL, Gabert-Quillen, C, Ostrowski, SA, Nugent, NR, Fischer, B, Morris, A, Pitman, RK, Bon, J, and Fallon, W (2013). The efficacy of initial hydrocortisone administration at preventing post-traumatic distress in adult trauma patients: A randomized trial. CNS Spectrums, 18 (2), 103-111.

Walsh, K., Nugent, N.R., Kotte, A., Amstadter, A.B., Wang, S., Guille, C., Acierno, R., Kilpatrick, D.G., & Resnick, H.S., (2013). Cortisol at the emergency room rape visit as a predictor of PTSD and depression symptoms over time. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 38, 2520-2528.

Knopik, V.S., Bidwell, L.C., Flessner, C., Nugent, N.R., Swenson, L., Buckolz, K.K., Madden, P.A.F., Heath, A.C. (in press). DSM-IV defined conduct disorder and oppositional defiant disorder: An investigation of shared liability in female twins. Psychological Medicine

Spirito, A, Wolff, JC, Seaboyer, LM, Hunt, J, Esposito-Smythers, C, Nugent, NR, Zlotnick, C. Miller, I. (in press) Concurrent Treatment for Adolescent and Parent Depressed Mood and Suicidality: Feasibility, Acceptability, and Preliminary Findings. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology.

Dunn, E.C., Brown, R.C., Dai, Y., Rosand, J., Nugent, N.R., Amstadter, A.B., Smoller, J.W. (in press) Genetic determinants of depression: Recent findings and future directions. Harvard Review of Psychiatry.



Koenen, K.C., Amstadter, A. & Nugent, N. R. (2008). Genetic Risk Factors for PTSD.  Psychobiology of Trauma and Resilience Across the Lifespan. 23-46.

Amstadter, A. B., Nugent, N. R., & Koenen, K. C. (2008). Genetics of trauma and
PTSD. In G. Reyes, J. Elhai, & J. Ford (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Psychological
Trauma. John Wiley & Sons.

Nugent, N.R., Koenen, K.C., Fyer, A. & Weissman, M. (2010). Genetics of Anxiety Disorders. In H.B. Simpson, Y. Neria, R. Lewis-Fernandez, & F Schneier (Eds.) Understanding Anxiety: Clinical and Research Perspectives from the Columbia University Department of Psychiatry. 139-155.

Nugent, N.R., Amstadter, A.B., Koenen, K.C. (2010). Social support and interpersonal relationships following trauma. In LM Horowitz & S Strack (Eds). Handbook of Interpersonal Psychology: Theory, Research, Assessment, and Therapeutic Interventions. John Wiley & Sons. 405-424.

Koenen, K., Amstadter, A., & Nugent, N. (2012). Genetic research in Psychology. In H. Cooper, P. Camic, D. Long, A. Panter, D. Rindskopf, & K. Sher (Eds). Handbook of Research Methods in Psychology. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Amstadter, A.B., Zajac, K., Nugent, N. R., & Koenen, K. C. (2010). Genetics of posttraumatic stress disorder: Extant research and neurobiologically informed future directions. In L Sher (Ed). Neurobiology of post-traumatic stress disorder.  Nova Science Publishers: Hoboken, NJ. 65-89.

Uddin, M., Amstadter, A.B., Nugent, N.R., Koenen, K.C. (2012). Genetics and genomics of post-traumatic stress disorder. In G Beck and D Sloan (Eds.) Oxford Handbook of Traumatic Stress Disorders. Oxford University Press, New York. 143-159.

Amstadter AB, Berenz EC, Nugent NR, Trainor CD, Koenen KC, Vladimirov V (in press). Genetics of posttraumatic stress disorder and sleep disturbance. In E Vermetten and T Neylan (Eds.), Sleep and combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder. Springer-Verlag Publishers.

Nugent, NR, Brown, R., Stratton, K., Amstadter, AB (in press). Epidemiology of posttraumatic stress disorder. In K Koenen, S Rudenstine, S Galea, and E Susser (Eds.), Life Course Epidemiology of Mental Disorders. Oxford University Press.

Amstadter, A. B., Dunn, E. C., Brown, R., Berenz, E. C., & Nugent, N. R. (2014). Treatment implications of gene-environment interplay in childhood trauma. In Reece, Robert M., Hanson, Rochelle, F., Sargent, A.J., eds. Treatment of Child Abuse: Common Ground for Mental Health, Medical, and Legal Practitioners. 2nd edition. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. 323-346.


research overview

Nicole Nugent's research interests focus on the interplay of neurobiological and environmental influences on child and adolescent responses to traumatic and chronic stress.

research statement

Dr. Nugent's research has spanned child and adolescent responses to traumatic and chronic stressors including pediatric injury, family violence, sexual abuse, disaster, and HIV diagnosis. She has conducted programmatic research aimed at characterization of neurobiological and psychosocial influences on post-trauma adjustment, toward the goal of developing informed and novel secondary and tertiary interventions aimed at prevention and treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and related stress-sensitive conditions.

funded research

K01 MH087240 Psychogenetic Factors in Project REACH (PI: Nugent)

R01MH105379 Biomarkers, social, and affective predictors of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in adolescents (PI: Nugent)

R01 MH095786  Multi-method assessment of emotion reactivity: Translational research in suicide (PIs: Armey & Miller)

R01 HD-071982 Mechanisms of Intergenerational Impact of Maternal Trauma (PI: Bradley)