Nicole Barbarich-Marsteller, PhD
Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurobiology (in Psychiatry)
Dr. Barbarich-Marsteller began her research career as an undergraduate interested in understanding the neurobiology of psychiatric disorders, particularly eating disorders. She pursued research training at several premier research institutions, including Rutgers University, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, before entering graduate school in 2003.
Dr. Barbarich-Marsteller's graduate work within the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and Brookhaven National Laboratory shifted to using preclinical models to understand the vulnerability to eating disorders and substance abuse during adolescence. Dr. Barbarich-Marsteller received a NIDA-funded predoctoral national research service award and was selected to represent the United States Department of Energy at the 55th Lindau Meeting of Nobel Laureates and Students in Lindau, Germany. She completed her Ph.D. in Neuroscience in 2 years and 9 months and subsequently began a postdoctoral research fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University and a visiting postdoctoral research associate position in the Department of Psychology at Princeton University.
Since arriving at Columbia in 2006, Dr. Barbarich-Marsteller established the first preclinical eating disorders research laboratory within the Department of Psychiatry. In 2008, she was promoted to faculty and received a Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (K01). She has received funding from several organizations, including NIDA, NIMH, the Klarman Family Foundation Grants Program in Eating Disorders Research, the Sackler Institute, the Frontier Fund, and the National Eating Disorders Association. Dr. Barbarich-Marsteller has ongoing collaborations with investigators at New York University and Princeton University that are focused on using translational approaches to understand the neurobiology of anorexia nervosa, with the ultimate goal of identifying new treatments.
Dr. Barbarich-Marsteller's research is currently funded by NIDA, NIMH, and the Klarman Family Foundation Grants Program in Eating Disorders Research. Using a translational model of anorexia nervosa known as activity-based anorexia, Dr. Barbarich-Marsteller has several ongoing projects in rats, including: 1) identifying age and sex-dependent differences in development, maintenance, and relapse, 2) identifying vulnerable and resistant phenotypes, 3) characterizing the role of GABAA receptors, 4) identifying alterations in hippocampal neurogenesis, and 5) identifying biomarkers of vulnerability to activity-based anorexia. She is also testing a mouse model of activity-based anorexia and conducting studies examining the vulnerability to intravenous self-administration of cocaine during adolescence in rats.