Primary Faculty

Jennifer Urbano Blackford, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Ph.D., Vanderbilt University (Developmental Psychology)
M.S., Vanderbilt University (Developmental Psychology)
B.S., Florida State University (Psychology)

Brief Bio
Dr. Blackford is a developmental psychologist and neuroscientist. Her lab's uses neuroimaging and genetic methods to identify and characterize the neurobiological bases of anxiety vulnerability and anxiety disorders. Additional interests include inhibited temperament, social cognition, and schizophrenia. Dr. Blackford is a Co-Director for the Brain, Behavior and Movement course for 1st year medical students and Managing Editor of JAMA Psychiatry.

Research Interests
Neural and genetic substrates of anxiety; temperament risk for psychiatric disease; neuroimaging; amygdala; BNST; schizophrenia

Representative publications

  1. Blackford JU, Williams LE, Heckers S. Neural correlates of out-group bias predict social impairment in patients with schizophrenia. Schizophrenia research 2015 May;164(1-3):203-9. PMID: 25864952.
  2. Clauss JA, Avery SN, Blackford JU. The nature of individual differences in inhibited temperament and risk for psychiatric disease: A review and meta-analysis. Progress in neurobiology 2015 Apr;127-128C:23-45. PMID: 25784645.
  3. Karbasforoushan H, Duffy B, Blackford JU, Woodward ND. Processing speed impairment in schizophrenia is mediated by white matter integrity. Psychological medicine 2015 Jan;45(1):109-20. PMID: 25066842.
  4. Blackford JU, Clauss JA, Avery SN, Cowan RL, Benningfield MM, VanDerKlok RM. Amygdala-cingulate intrinsic connectivity is associated with degree of social inhibition. Biological psychology 2014 May;99:15-25. PMID: 24534162.
  5. Avery SN, Clauss JA, Winder DG, Woodward N, Heckers S, Blackford JU. BNST neurocircuitry in humans. NeuroImage 2014 May;91:311-23. PMID: 24444996.
  6. Clauss JA, Avery SN, Vanderklok RM, Rogers BP, Cowan RL, Benningfield MM, Blackford JU. Neurocircuitry underlying risk and resilience to social anxiety disorder. Depression and anxiety 2014 Apr; PMID: 24753211.
  7. Clauss JA, Seay AL, Vanderklok RM, Avery SN, Cao A, Cowan RL, Benningfield MM, Blackford JU. Structural and functional bases of inhibited temperament. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience 2014 Mar; PMID: 24493850.
  8. Benningfield MM, Blackford JU, Ellsworth ME, Samanez-Larkin GR, Martin PR, Cowan RL, Zald DH. Caudate responses to reward anticipation associated with delay discounting behavior in healthy youth. Developmental cognitive neuroscience 2014 Jan;7:43-52. PMID: 24309299 PMCID: PMC3932556.
  9. Koran ME, Hohman TJ, Edwards CM, Vega JN, Pryweller JR, Slosky LE, Crockett G, Villa de Rey L, Meda SA, Dankner N, Avery SN, Blackford JU, Dykens EM, Thornton-Wells TA. Differences in age-related effects on brain volume in Down syndrome as compared to Williams syndrome and typical development. Journal of neurodevelopmental disorders 2014; 6(1):8. PMID: 24713364 PMCID: PMC4022321.
  10. Talati P, Rane S, Kose S, Blackford JU, Gore J, Donahue MJ, Heckers S. Increased hippocampal CA1 cerebral blood volume in schizophrenia. NeuroImage. Clinical 2014; 5:359-64. PMID: 25161901 PMCID: PMC4141978.
  11. Williams LE, Blackford JU, Luksik A, Gauthier I, Heckers S. Reduced habituation in patients with schizophrenia. Schizophrenia research 2013 Dec;151(1-3):124-32. PMID: 24200419 PMCID: PMC3908315.
  12. Charboneau EJ, Dietrich MS, Park S, Cao A, Watkins TJ, Blackford JU, Benningfield MM, Martin PR, Buchowski MS, Cowan RL. Cannabis cue-induced brain activation correlates with drug craving in limbic and visual salience regions: preliminary results. Psychiatry research 2013 Nov;214(2):122-31. PMID: 24035535 PMCID: PMC3904759.
  13. Watkins TJ, Raj V, Lee J, Dietrich MS, Cao A, Blackford JU, Salomon RM, Park S, Benningfield MM, Di Iorio CR, Cowan RL. Human ecstasy (MDMA) polydrug users have altered brain activation during semantic processing. Psychopharmacology 2013 May;227(1):41-54. PMID: 23241648 PMCID: PMC3615064.
  14. Edmiston EK, Blackford JU. Childhood maltreatment and response to novel face stimuli presented during functional magnetic resonance imaging in adults. Psychiatry research 2013 Apr;212(1):36-42. PMID: 23477839 PMCID: PMC3604160.
  15. Blackford JU, Allen AH, Cowan RL, Avery SN. Amygdala and hippocampus fail to habituate to faces in individuals with an inhibited temperament. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience 2013 Feb;8(2):143-50. PMID: 22260816 PMCID: PMC3575717.
  16. Pryweller JR, Avery SN, Blackford JU, Dykens EM, Thornton-Wells TA. The effect of intellectual ability on functional activation in a neurodevelopmental disorder: preliminary evidence from multiple fMRI studies in Williams syndrome. Journal of neurodevelopmental disorders 2012 Oct;4(1):24. PMID: 23102261 PMCID: PMC3502608.
  17. Clauss JA, Blackford JU. Behavioral inhibition and risk for developing social anxiety disorder: a meta-analytic study. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 2012 Oct;51(10):1066-1075.e1. PMID: 23021481 PMCID: PMC3611590.
  18. Blackford JU, Pine DS. Neural substrates of childhood anxiety disorders: a review of neuroimaging findings. Child and adolescent psychiatric clinics of North America 2012 Jul;21(3):501-25. PMID: 22800991 PMCID: PMC3489468.
  19. Di Iorio CR, Watkins TJ, Dietrich MS, Cao A, Blackford JU, Rogers B, Ansari MS, Baldwin RM, Li R, Kessler RM, Salomon RM, Benningfield M, Cowan RL. Evidence for chronically altered serotonin function in the cerebral cortex of female 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine polydrug users. Archives of general psychiatry 2012 Apr;69(4):399-409. PMID: 22147810 PMCID: PMC3538835.
  20. Salomon RM, Karageorgiou J, Dietrich MS, McLellan JY, Charboneau EJ, Blackford JU, Cowan RL. MDMA (Ecstasy) association with impaired fMRI BOLD thalamic coherence and functional connectivity. Drug and alcohol dependence 2012 Jan;120(1-3):41-7. PMID: 21807471 PMCID: PMC3224864.
  21. Avery SN, Thornton-Wells TA, Anderson AW, Blackford JU. White matter integrity deficits in prefrontal-amygdala pathways in Williams syndrome. NeuroImage 2012 Jan;59(2):887-94. PMID: 22008369 PMCID: PMC3254058.
  22. Blackford JU, Love R. Dialectical behavior therapy group skills training in a community mental health setting: a pilot study. International journal of group psychotherapy 2011 Oct;61(4):645-57. PMID: 21985263 PMCID: PMC3191933.
  23. Blackford JU, Avery SN, Cowan RL, Shelton RC, Zald DH. Sustained amygdala response to both novel and newly familiar faces characterizes inhibited temperament. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience 2011 Oct;6(5):621-9. PMID: 20660534 PMCID: PMC3190202.
  24. Thornton-Wells TA, Avery SN, Blackford JU. Using novel control groups to dissect the amygdala's role in Williams syndrome. Developmental cognitive neuroscience 2011 Jul;1(3):295-304. PMID: 21731599 PMCID: PMC3124852.
  25. Clauss JA, Cowan RL, Blackford JU. Expectation and temperament moderate amygdala and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex responses to fear faces. Cognitive, affective & behavioral neuroscience 2011 Mar;11(1):13-21. PMID: 21264642 PMCID: PMC3049952.
  26. Blackford JU, Buckholtz JW, Avery SN, Zald DH. A unique role for the human amygdala in novelty detection. NeuroImage 2010 Apr;50(3):1188-93. PMID: 20045069 PMCID: PMC2830341.
  27. Blackford JU, Avery SN, Shelton RC, Zald DH. Amygdala temporal dynamics: temperamental differences in the timing of amygdala response to familiar and novel faces. BMC neuroscience 2009 Dec;10:145. PMID: 20003287 PMCID: PMC2797525.
  28. Blackford JU. Propensity scores: method for matching on multiple variables in down syndrome research. Intellectual and developmental disabilities 2009 Oct;47(5):348-57. PMID: 19842739 PMCID: PMC2845959.
  29. Blackford JU, Salomon RM, Waller NG. Detecting change in biological rhythms: a multivariate permutation test approach to Fourier-transformed data. Chronobiology international 2009 Feb;26(2):258-81. PMID: 19212840 PMCID: PMC2706024.
  30. Blackford JU, Salomon RM, Waller NG. Detecting change in biological rhythms: a multivariate permutation test approach to Fourier-transformed data. Chronobiology international 2009 Feb;26(2):258-81. PMID: 19212840 PMCID: PMC2706024.
  31. Hahn MK, Blackford JU, Haman K, Mazei-Robison M, English BA, Prasad HC, Steele A, Hazelwood L, Fentress HM, Myers R, Blakely RD, Sanders-Bush E, Shelton R. Multivariate permutation analysis associates multiple polymorphisms with subphenotypes of major depression. Genes, brain, and behavior 2008 Jun;7(4):487-95. PMID: 18081710 PMCID: PMC2670227.
  32. Hickson GB, Federspiel CF, Blackford J, Pichert JW, Gaska W, Merrigan MW, Miller CS. Patient complaints and malpractice risk in a regional healthcare center. Southern medical journal 2007 Aug;100(8):791-6. PMID: 17713305.
  33. Rosenbloom ST, Crow AN, Blackford JU, Johnson KB. Cognitive factors influencing perceptions of clinical documentation tools. Journal of biomedical informatics 2007 Apr;40(2):106-13. PMID: 16904384.
  34. Murff HJ, France DJ, Blackford J, Grogan EL, Yu C, Speroff T, Pichert JW, Hickson GB. Relationship between patient complaints and surgical complications. Quality & safety in health care 2006 Feb;15(1):13-6. PMID: 16456204 PMCID: PMC2564001.
  35. Rosenbloom ST, Giuse NB, Jerome RN, Blackford JU. Providing evidence-based answers to complex clinical questions: evaluating the consistency of article selection. Academic medicine : journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges 2005 Jan;80(1):109-14. PMID: 15618105.
  36. Yoder PJ, Blackford JU, Waller NG, Kim G. Enhancing power while controlling family-wise error: an illustration of the issues using electrocortical studies. Journal of clinical and experimental neuropsychology 2004 May;26(3):320-31. PMID: 15512923.
  37. Yoder PJ, Blackford JU, Waller NG, Kim G. Enhancing power while controlling family-wise error: an illustration of the issues using electrocortical studies. Journal of clinical and experimental neuropsychology 2004 May;26(3):320-31. PMID: 15512923.
  38. Walden TA, Blackford JU, Carpenter KL. Differences in social signals produced by children with developmental delays of differing etiologies. American journal of mental retardation : AJMR 1997 Nov;102(3):292-305. PMID: 9394138.
  39. Salomon RM, Blackford JU, Rosenbloom ST, Seidel S, Clayton EW, Dilts DM, Finder SG. Openness of patients' reporting with use of electronic records: psychiatric clinicians' views. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association : JAMIA 17(1):54-60. PMID: 20064802 PMCID: PMC2995635.
  40. Moore IN, Snyder SL, Miller C, An AQ, Blackford JU, Zhou C, Hickson GB. Confidentiality and privacy in health care from the patient's perspective: does HIPAA help?. Health matrix (Cleveland, Ohio : 1991) 17(2):215-72. PMID: 18326392.
  41. Carroll KN, Cooper WO, Blackford JU, Hickson GB. Characteristics of families that complain following pediatric emergency visits. Ambulatory pediatrics : the official journal of the Ambulatory Pediatric Association 5(6):326-31. PMID: 16302833.

PubMed Listing of Vanderbilt Publications