Molly McLaren, M.S.

Biography

Molly McLaren, M.S., is a doctoral candidate at the University of Florida (UF) in the Department of Clinical and Healthy Psychology.  Molly graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2011 with majors in Neuroscience and Psychology and a minor in Chemistry.  After graduation Molly worked as a full time research assistant at Duke Medical Center with Dr. James Blumenthal examining the impact of diet and exercise on cognition in older adults with mild cognitive impairment. Molly entered the Clinical and Health Psychology program at the University of Florida in the fall of 2013.  She is currently in the Clinical Neuropsychology track and works in the Cognitive Neuroscience of Aging and Depression laboratory under the mentorship of Dr. Vonetta Dotson.

Research focus

Molly’s primary research interests involve examining the impact of depressive symptoms and other mood disorders on the aging brain.  She is interested in examining the relationship between mood symptoms and cognitive aging and the neurological correlates of depression in older adults.  Additionally, Molly is interested in understanding how lifestyle may impact depressive symptoms in older adults, especially the impact of exercise on both mood and cognitive symptoms in older adults.

Publications:

McLaren, M.E., Szymkowicz, S.M., O’Shea, A., Woods, A.J., Anton, S.D.,  & Dotson, V.M. (in press) Symptom Dimensions of Subthreshold Depression and Cingulate Volumes in Older Adults. Translational Psychiatry.

Dotson, V.M., Szymkowicz, S.M., Sozda, C.N., Kirton, J.W., Green, M., O’Shea, A., McLaren, M.E., Anton, S.D., Manini, T.M. & Woods, A.J. (in press) Age Differences in Prefrontal Surface Area and Thickness in Middle Aged to Older Adults. Neuroscience

Szymkowicz, S.M., McLaren, M.E., Kirton, J.W., O’Shea, A., Woods, A.J., Manini, T.M., Anton, S.D., & Dotson, V.M.(2016). Depressive symptom severity is associated with increased cortical thickness in older adults. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. 31 (4) 325-333. DOI: 10.1002/gps.4324

McLaren, M.E., Szymkowicz, S.M., Kirton, J.W., & Dotson, V.M. (2015). Impact of education on memory deficits in subclinical depression. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 30, 387–393. doi: 10.1093/arclin/acv038

Dotson VM, Szymkowicz SM, Kirton JW, McLaren M.E., Green ML, et al. (2014) Unique and Interactive Effect of Anxiety and Depressive Symptoms on Cognitive and Brain Function in Young and Older Adults. J Depress Anxiety S1:003. doi: 10.4172/2167-1044.S1-003

Smith, P.J., Potter, G.G., McLaren, M.E., Blumenthal, J.A. (2013).  Impact of aerobic exercise on neurobehavioral outcomes. Mental Health and Physical Activity. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mhpa.2013.06.008.

Erickson, K. I., Prakash, R.S., Voss, M.W, Chaddock, L., Heo, S., McLaren, M., Pence, B.D., Martin, S.A., Vieira, V.J., Woods, J.A., McAuley, E., Kramer, A.F. (2010). Brain derived neurotrophic factor is associated with age-related decline in hippocampal volume. J. Neurosci. 30 (1), 5368-5375. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.6251-09.2010.

Presentations

McLaren, M.E., Szymkowicz, S.M., O’Shea, A., Woods, A.J., Anton, S.D. & Dotson, V.M. (2016) Symptom Dimensions of Depression and Age Impact Subfield Hippocampal Volume. Poster to be presented at the 44th annual International Neuropsychological  Society (INS) meeting, Boston, MA.

McLaren, M.E., Szymkowicz, S.M., O’Shea, A., Woods, A.J., Manini, T.M., Anton, S.D., Dotson, V.M. (2015). Symptom dimensions of depression and frontal brain volume in older adults.  Poster presented at the 43rd annual International Neuropsychological Society (INS) meeting, Denver, CO.

McLaren, M.E., Rohani, J.Y., Kirton, J.W., Manini T.M., Anton, S.D., & Dotson, V.M. BDI-II factors’ relationship to neural activity during the n-back task in older adults.  Poster presented at the 2014 Cognitive Aging conference in Atlanta, GA.

McLaren, M.E., Szymkowicz, S. M., O’Shea, A., Woods, A.J., Anton, S.D., Dotson, V.M. Association between Symptom Dimensions of Subthreshold Depression and Cingulate Volumes in Older Adults.  Poster to be presented at the 6th annual Spotlight on Aging Research Day, Gainesville, FL.

McLaren, M.E., Rohani, J.Y., Kirton, J.W., Manini T.M., Anton, S.D., & Dotson, V.M. BDI-II factors’ relationship to neural activity during the n-back task in older adults.  Poster presented at the 2014 PHHP Research Day at the University of Flordia in Gainesville, FL.

Awards, Memberships, and Community Service

Graduate student council travel award winner (2014, 2015)

PHHP travel award winner (2014)

Phi Beta Kappa Member

Student Member, American Psychological Association, Division 40 (2013-present)

University of Florida Craniofacial Camp Counselor (2014)

Gabor Global Initiative- Group Facilitator (2013)

Durham Crisis Response Center- crisis responder (2012, 2013)