Faculty Profile: Nicole Nugent

Nicole Nugent
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry & Human Behavior (Research)
Psychiatry & Human Behavior
Nicole Nugent's research interests focus on the interplay of neurobiological and environmental influences on child and adolescent responses to traumatic and chronic stress.


Nicole Nugent, PhD is an assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Licensed in clinical psychology, she is a staff psychologist at the Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center where she is housed both in the Division of Behavioral Genetics and in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Research Description

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.

Grants and Awards

Wittenberg Virgil E. Rahn Memorial Award (1997)
Wittenberg Bethlehem Steel Award (1998)
Lee A Becker Innovations in Psychology and Science (2001)
APA Ellin Bloch & Pierre Ritchie Scholarship (2003)
ISTSS Student Research Grant (2004)
APF Munsterberg Koppitz Travel Stipend (2006)
Pediatric Loan Repayment Program Recipient (2008-2010)


Rhode Island Hospital: Staff Psychologist (2009-present)
Harvard School of Public Health: Visiting Scientist (2010-2012)

Funded Research

K01 MH087240 Psychogenetic Factors in Project REACH

Teaching Experience

Examples of courses previously taught include:

Adolescent Psychology
Junior-level undergraduate course with 140 students; independently developed and carried out curriculum including lectures, class discussion, multiple-choice exams, and a topical project.

Child Psychology
Sophomore-level undergraduate course with 300 students. Independently developed and carried out curriculum including lectures, class discussion, multiple-choice exams, and supplemental reading materials.

Junior-level undergraduate course with 40 students. All aspects of the course were independently developed and carried out, including selection of course materials, development and provision of lectures, and creation of exams. Exams included multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, matching, and short answer items and incorporated an assessment of student knowledge of material from lecture, the textbook, and supplemental reading materials.

Writing in Psychology
Junior-level undergraduate course with 5 students; developed and carried out curriculum tailored to improve student writing skills, critical thinking, and research abilities.

Genetics and Human Behavior (TA)
Summer Studies pre-college course for high school students interested in taking a college-level course. Assisted with course discussions, applied laboratory experiences, and graded course exams.

Psychology of Stress and Trauma
Summer Studies pre-college course for high school students interested in taking a college-level course. This course provides an introduction to the field of traumatic stress. Through lecture, discussions, projects and in class activities students gain an understanding of how humans cope with trauma, what factors (i.e., aspects of the trauma, social support, personality and coping style, biology and genetics) predict who will have difficulty coping with trauma, and how we can treat trauma.

Selected Publications

  • 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. (IN PRESS)
  • 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. (2012)
  • 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. (2012)
  • 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. (2012)
  • 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. (2012)
  • 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. (2012)
  • 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. (2012)
  • 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. (2011)
  • 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. (2011)
  • 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. (2011)
  • 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. (2011)
  • 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. (2011)
  • 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. (2010)
  • 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. (2010)
  • 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. (2010)
  • 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. (2010)
  • 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. (2010)
  • 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. (2010)
  • 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. (2010)
  • 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 (2009)
  • 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 (2009)
  • Koenen, K.C., Amstadter, A.B., & Nugent, N.R. (2009). Gene-environment interactions in PTSD: An update. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 22, 416-426. (2009)
  • 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. (2009)
  • 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. (2009)
  • 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 PsychologicalTrauma. John Wiley & Sons. (2008)
  • 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. (2008)
  • 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. (2008)
  • Koenen, K.C., Amstadter, A. & Nugent, N. R. (2008). Genetic Risk Factors for PTSD. Psychobiology of Trauma and Resilience Across the Lifespan. 23-46. (2008)
  • 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. (2007)
  • 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. (2006)
  • 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. (2006)
  • 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. (2006)
  • 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. (2006)
  • 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. (2005)
  • 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. (2004)