Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Dr. Felger studies the effects of inflammatory cytokines on neurotransmitters and neural circuits as they relate to behavioral change. She received a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Florida (2001), a PhD in Neuroscience from Emory (2007), and then continued her training in neuroscience and immunology as a postdoctoral fellow in the Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology at Rockefeller University (2007-2009). Dr. Felger then returned to Emory and her NRSA-funded postdoctoral work established that peripheral administration of the inflammatory cytokine interferon-alpha decreases basal ganglia dopamine, as assessed in a translational model of cytokine-induced depressive and anhedonic behavior. Dr. Felger is currently exploring the role of dopamine in alterations in neurocircuitry associated with increased inflammation in patients with major depression using fMRI, and continuing her translational work to better understand the underlying neural and metabolic pathways by which inflammation may affect neurotransmitters. She also collaborates with researchers in the Winship Cancer Institute and School of Nursing to examine molecular and cellular pathways of immune activation in cancer patients who experience behavioral change in response to treatment.
Dr. Felger is the Laboratory Director of the Emory Mind-Body Program, and is anticipated to graduate from the Master of Science in Clinical Research program in 2015. She is the recipient of a KL2 Scholarship through the Atlanta Clinical and Translational Science Institute and a 2014 NARSAD Young Investigator Award from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation.