Teresa Leyro, Ph.D.

Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology

teresa.leyro@rutgers.edu, (932) 848-1309

Dr. Teresa Leyro’s is the director of the Affective and Biological Underpinnings of Substance use and Anxiety (ABUSA) lab. Her research takes a multi-method approach toward identifying underlying cognitive-affective and biological risk for co-occurring anxiety and substance use, with focus cigarette smoking/nicotine dependence. Methodologies employed to measure risk include self-report and behavioral indices (e.g., distress tolerance), psychophysiology with an emphasis on the autonomic nervous system (e.g., cardiac impedance and heart rate variability), examination of stress hormones relevant to HPA-axis functioning (e.g., cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone [DHEA]). Elucidating the role of individual variability in these parameters will help clarify both the etiology and maintenance of co-occurring substance use and anxiety pathology, informing empirically driven and targeted intervention. Her translational research program employs stress provocation paradigms in laboratory settings as a means to explore these relations. In addition to her focus on anxiety and cigarette smoking, Dr. Leyro has engaged in research on alcohol, marijuana and illicit substance use disorders, severe mental illness, and HIV/AIDS.

Dr. Teresa Leyro completed her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of Vermont in 2012, where she served as a member of the Vermont Tobacco Evaluation and Review Board. Subsequently, she completed her clinical internship and National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) funded post-doctoral training in substance abuse treatment and services research at the University of California, San Francisco. She previously earned her B.A. in psychology with a minor in human development at Colby College in 2004. She has received numerous grants and awards for research and training from NIDA.