PTM Research Institute focuses on Pain, Trauma, and Mortality research.

Support Our Research

According to Center for Disease Control (CDC), suicide has surpassed accidents to become the number one killer of adolescents and young adults, which is an awakening call for us. As surviving family members and friends of people who have committed suicide, our charity proudly sponsors world class researchers who are striving to understand the biopsychosocial factors that are responsible for mental disorders. We are raising money to build a consortium in the Western United States, and provide them with dedicated resources for clinical research in suicide and suicide prevention. Our goal is to stop the 121 preventable deaths from suicide that occur in our country every day. Suicide Prevention Research (PMT Research Institute) on Crowdrise

The PMT Research Institute is sponsorship of the Holeigh J. Skyler Foundation — a 501(c)3 nonprofit and a Guidestar Gold Participant. Click here for more information on privacy and your rights. 

Anxiety and Pain Disorders

Our goal is to expand the knowledge and understanding of the biological interface between mental health and physical well-being. We attempt to answer the question, “how do endogenous triggers like allostatic load and metabolic syndrome activate genetic/epigenetic mechanisms during critical stages of development to program maladaptive behaviors and physiological dysfunction?” Past research has included work on anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as pain processing in disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, diabetes, and obesity. Using an integrative approach, we combine contemporary laboratory and clinical methodologies with cohort studies to investigate the underlying pathophysiology responsible for the cardinal neuropsychological phenotypes of these disorders and the associated functional sequelae.

Suicide and Self-Injurious Behavior

There have been substantial advancements in research describing the neurobiological underpinnings of mental disorders and suicidality in recent years. The goal of this proposal is to assimilate the prevailing genetic markers, molecular signatures, neurochemical substrates, and patterns of brain activation to rectify current theoretical models of suicidal behavior. Framing the neurobiological findings in studies of suicide victims with these mental states reveal pathways implicated in the contemporary theoretical models of suicidality. Thus, advances in the neurobiology of suicidality complements phenomenological hypotheses of suicide. Alterations in these mechanisms may present measurable phenotypes that can be used to identify diathesis, predisposition, and diagnosis.

Mortality Salience and Bereavement

Bereavement-related mood and anxiety disorders are often difficult to treat, possibly owing to the complex interaction of the circumstance of loss, or mortality salience (MS). Different MS primes have been shown to produce a wide variety of effects, from heightened disgust to increased ingroup behaviors. Terror Management Theory (TMT) interprets these effects as forms of worldview defense against existential death anxiety. However, there is an inconsistency in the pattern of activation of worldview defense across studies using different MS primes. Our studies compare the effects of violent threats, disease threats, and isolation death on ingroup behavior and disgust. We hope to determine the role of self-esteem and worldview in mediating the primary MS outcome measures. In a separate study, we examine the different patterns of cognitive activation in people who recently lost a friend or relative due to violent means, disease, or other natural causes.