Professor of Psychiatry
Professor of Psychology
Director, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute
Director, Neuroimaging Research in Psychiatry
Adjunct Associate Professor, Radiology-Duke University
Duke-UNC Brain Imaging and Analysis Center
UNC Hospitals – Chapel Hill
Education and Training:
B.S., Psychology, Ege University, Izmir Turkey
M.A., Physiological Psychology, University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana
Dr. Belger’s research focuses on translational and interdisciplinary studies of the cortical circuits underlying attention, executive function and emotion processing in the human brain, as well as their breakdown in neuropsychiatric disorders, such as autism, schizophrenia, mood disorders, and PTSD. Dr. Belger combines functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electrophysiological scalp recording (EEG), functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), experimental psychology and neuropsychological assessment techniques to explore the behavioral and neurophysiological underpinnings of sensory and cognitive impairments across disorders. Her integrative research has most recently examined electrophysiological and functional abnormalities in young autistic children, as well as children, adolescents and adults at clinical and familial risk for psychosis. Dr. Belger is part of a large interdisciplinary team of investigators conducting multi-institutional studies exploring the impact of early childhood abuse and neglect on adult brain function, structure and substance abuse outcomes.
Recent studies from Dr. Belger’s laboratory have demonstrated that parents of children with autism share phenotypic and neurobiological markers associated with aberrant social information processing. Additionally, her lab has demonstrated that abnormal neural oscillatory activity in multiple frequency bandwidths are associated with specific higher order cognitive and affective processing impairments in patients with schizophrenia and their unaffected first-degree relatives. She currently examines stress regulation and brain function in adolescence, and risk for psychosis. She eagerly mentors multiple undergraduate, graduate and medical students, postdoctoral trainees and junior faculty, and teaches Cognitive Clinical Neuroscience at UNC.