Jacek Debiec, MD, PhD

Dr. Jacek Debiec is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and an Assistant Research Professor in the Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He received his MD from Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland where he also completed a psychiatric residency and doctoral studies in transcultural psychiatry during which he investigated the phenomenon of possession trance. He also holds a DPhil. in philosophy of science from John Paul II Pontifical University. As a Fulbright Fellow he trained in neuroscience with Joseph E. LeDoux at New York University where he completed his second residency in psychiatry and a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry. He studies the neurobiological mechanisms of emotional learning. He was the first to demonstrate that noradrenergic blockade by propranolol disrupts the reconsolidation of fear memories in the amygdala.

In his current projects he studies molecular and neural mechanisms of fear learning in infancy. His lab investigates how trauma affects attachment and how healthy attachment and bonding protect from the effects of trauma. His group works on identifying neural circuits and molecular mechanisms underlying infant’s vulnerability and resilience to psychological trauma with the ultimate goal of developing interventions reversing negative effects of these early childhood adversities. His recent work on intergenerational transmission of trauma (Debiec & Sullivan, PNAS 2014) was featured by numerous national and international media including: Newsweek, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Verge, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, CTV News, Shanghai News, The Times of India, YTN, Al-Jazeera, Fars News, Die Welt, Deutschlandfunk, La Stampa and others. He recently published “The Emotional Brain Revisited” (Copernicus Center Press, 2014).