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CBBRe Research Symposium 2021

CBBRe Annual Research Symposium August 18-19th 2021

Don't miss our in-person and virtual poster sessions!

Authors will present their posters in person on Wednesday, August 18 from 3-5 pm in the Atrium of the Lee Medical Building on the USD campus in Vermillion, SD. Poster awards will be announced at approximately 4:45 pm. Please stop by to chat with the presenters and have some snacks if you are in Vermillion. 

If you are unable to attend in person, each presentation, accompanied by a brief recorded talk, is also available by visiting the Presentations page. In addition, poster presenters will be available for live virtual question and answer sessions online Wednesday, August 18 from 11:15 am - 12:00 pm. Click on Tables in the Live Sessions tab to find and join a discussion.

Meet and greet opportunities for students!

Keynote and CBBRe/USD speakers (see below) will be available for a meet and greet with student attendees. Meet and greets will occur during the lunch hour on the day the speaker delivers their talk. Click on Tables in the Live Sessions tab above to find and join a meet and greet.

External Speakers
Dr. Dixon-Gordon, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences
Laboratory Website: 

Talk Title: Borderline personality disorder: The role of emotions in development, presentation, and treatment

Abstract: Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious mental health condition characterized by emotional instability, relationship difficulties, poor sense of self, and self-damaging behaviors. Despite the theoretical role of emotional difficulties in models in etiological models, further empirical work is needed to disentangle the role of emotions in the development and presentation of BPD. Dr. Dixon-Gordon will summarize studies identifying the role of emotions in the prediction of BPD features in children and adolescents, and the influence of emotions on behavior among adults with BPD. In addition, implications for treatment of BPD are discussed.

Dr. Dixon-Gordon is a clinical psychologist and assistant professor of clinical psychology at the University of Massachusetts. Research in her lab focuses on the role of emotional processes in the development and maintenance of psychopathology, with an emphasis on borderline personality disorder (BPD). In her work, she utilizes laboratory-based methods to examine the influence of emotional processes on other domains, such as interpersonal functioning. Given the complexity of these phenomena, she employs multimethod research designs, using self-report, behavioral, biological, psychophysiological, and naturalistic assessment (i.e., ecological momentary assessment). Furthermore, she translates this basic research to applied settings, with the aim of streamlining existing treatments, such as dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) for BPD and related pathology.

Key interests: borderline personality disorder, dialectical behavior therapy, nonsuicidal self-injury, suicidal behaviors, emotion regulation, psychophysiological assessment, mechanisms of treatment change.

Dr. Capron, University of Southern Mississippi
School of Psychology
Laboratory Website:
Anxiety and Trauma Research Program

Talk Title: New Directions in Suicide Prevention

Abstract: Dr. Capron will present an overview of recent suicide prevention directions from his laboratory, the USM Anxiety and Trauma Research Program. First, he will discuss recent efforts to utilize behavioral economic principals in clinical psychology generally and suicide prevention more specifically. Next, he will discuss the latest research on Anxiety Sensitivity Cognitive Concerns, a malleable risk factor for a wide range of psychopathology including suicidal thoughts and behaviors. He will discuss recent lab efforts toward better understanding the role of firearms in suicide and discuss results of a large means safety intervention in the National Guard. Lastly, he will introduce the concepts of suicide readiness states and unacceptable loss thresholds, which are major updates to the current dominant theories of suicide and help answer the question “When do people die by suicide?”.

Dan Capron is a Nina Bell Suggs Professor in Psychology. He graduated from Florida State University in 2015, and joined the USM faculty the same year. His lab, the Anxiety & Trauma Research Program, utilizes technology and cross-cutting translational research to better the understanding and treatment of anxiety, trauma, and suicide-related psychopathology. Dan has over 60 peer-reviewed publications, 40 talks at national and international conferences, and $3.4 million in extramural research grants as a Principal or Co-Investigator. He is the Principal Investigator on two current grant funded projects: the first study is focused on using behavioral economics techniques to increase treatment seeking in the National Guard and the second study is a brief mobile phone intervention for suicide risk correlates.

Dr. Smith, University of North Carolina
Department of Nutrition

Talk Title: The Critical Contribution of Nutrition to the Neurodevelopmental Outcomes of FASD


Dr. Smith studies how nutrition impacts the fetus, and how nutrition, genetics, and prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) interact to impair fetal development. PAE affects 3.9% of U.S. births and causes perisistent behavioral and cognitive impairment. At the molecular level, her lab identified the molecular signals through which alcohol causes the apoptotic deletion of craniofacial stem cell precursors (aka “the neural crest”), a diagnostic feature of PAE. Current work studies the MDM2/p53/ribosomal gene network that modulates neural crest vulnerability to alcohol’s damage. Her lab has also isolated maternal iron-deficiency (ID) as a risk factor that heightens fetal vulnerability to PAE-induced learning deficits. Other projects explore how PAE affects risk for metabolic syndrome and eating disorders in adolescence and adulthood. Her work is recognized by a prestigious MERIT award from NIAAA. She serves on the External Advisory Council for NIAAA, and is past chair of the NIH Neurotoxicology and Alcohol (NAL) study section and past-president of the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Study Group.

Dr. McDermott, University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Department of Psychology
Laboratory Website:
Health, Emotion, Anxiety, and Trauma Lab

Talk Title: Emotion regulation in psychological and physical health


Dr. McDermott is a clinical psychologist and an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where he conducts research on the roles of stress, anxiety, and trauma-related disorders on physical health. His work is primarily focused on elucidating the underlying mechanisms by which psychological factors, such as emotional responding contribute to the development of poor physical health and the exacerbation of medical problems including chronic pain conditions. His work is largely conducted in experimental laboratory settings and utilizes behavioral (e.g., emotional stress induction, pain exposure, etc.) and physiological (e.g., saliva cortisol, heart rate, VO2 Max, etc.) assessments of psychological and physical health.

Internal Speakers

Joseph Kantenbacher, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Sustainability and Environment
University of South Dakota

Talk Title: Pathways to the Future: Stories of Hope, Despair, and Climate Change

Joe Kantenbacher is an Assistant Professor of Sustainability & the Environment at the University of South Dakota. His research focuses on the role of individuals in building a more sustainable and flourishing society. Specifically, his work explores how people’s beliefs, actions, and visions of the future interact with the paired challenges of addressing climate change and transitioning to a clean energy economy.

John Korkow, PhD
Assistant Professor

Department of Addiction Counseling and Prevention

University of South Dakota

John Korkow is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Addiction Studies at the University of South Dakota, and is a Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC) with Lutheran Social Services, also in South Dakota. His research interests are alcohol and drug neurology, alcohol and drug counseling, Native Americans in college, and expansion of the use of qualitative research methodology in research (particularly grounded theory).

Talk Title: Alcohol and Drug Misuse: Client Aspects

Travis Loof, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Media and Journalism
University of South Dakota

Dr. Loof is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Media & Journalism at the University of South Dakota and director of the USD Coyote Insight Lab. His research focuses on human-AI interaction, digital media, and the psychology of video games.

Talk Title: Rated E for Everyone: Video Games as a way to Level Up Your Research

Abstract: Although video games have been around for just over 60 years, it is only within the last 20 years that researchers have seriously begun to investigate the medium. Technological advances and commercial availability of video game software have now made video games a legitimate instrument for scientific inquiry. In this presentation, Dr. Loof will explore the many research opportunities available with and through video games, with particular attention to research in behavior change and emotional responses. To better understand the breadth of research, Dr. Loof will discuss the use of commercial video games in a research setting, the benefits of modding video games for research, and designing or creating video games for specific research purposes. Finally, he will discuss the future of research with video games and some do's and don'ts for your own research program.


Arielle Selya, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Pediatrics
Sanford School of Medicine
University of South Dakota

Dr. Selya’s main research track seeks to understand the etiology of smoking and addiction among youth. She is especially interested in the role of early-emerging nicotine dependence, which can occur soon after smoking initiation and even before daily smoking habits develop. She is also interested in the hereditary and/or environmental mechanisms by which risk factors act to increase smoking behavior, particularly maternal smoking and prenatal tobacco exposure. A second major focus of Dr. Selya’s research the drastic increase in electronic cigarette use over recent years, and understanding how that impacts conventional cigarette use, either positively or negatively. Dr. Selya also studies the unique role of nicotine dependence in exacerbating smoking-related health outcomes, beyond the risk conveyed by objective smoking behavior alone.

Finally, Dr. Selya is the director of the Data Exchange Core, an initiative which provides researchers with access to Sanford Health’s centralized data warehouse – data that has the potential to uncover unique barriers and opportunities for impact in providing quality health care to our communities. By providing streamlined on-demand tools and prioritized access to health care data, researchers will have a unique opportunity to engage in translational, sustainable and transdisciplinary population health research with the capacity to directly influence patient health outcomes.

Talk Title: Exploring Potential Mechanisms Underlying the Association Between Maternal Smoking and Offspring Smoking


Poster Session to be held 3-5pm on August 18th in the Atrium of Lee Medicine

In-Person Poster Session:
For those presenting posters in-person at the Symposium Poster Session from 3-5pm, please send a copy of your poster to cbbre@usd.edu or to lisa.mcfadden@usd.edu by Friday, August 13th to ensure printing.  Posters should be no larger than 40 inches high and 60 inches wide.