The AURORA Study: a longitudinal, multimodal library of brain biology and function after traumatic stress exposure

Samuel A. McLean, Kerry Ressler, Karestan Chase Koenen, Thomas Neylan, Laura Germine, Tanja Jovanovic, Gari D. Clifford, Donglin Zeng, Xinming An, Sarah Linnstaedt, Francesca Beaudoin, Stacey House, Kenneth A. Bollen, Paul Musey, Phyllis Hendry, Christopher W. Jones, Christopher Lewandowski, Robert Swor, Elizabeth Datner, Kamran MohiuddinJennifer S. Stevens, Alan Storrow, Michael Christopher Kurz, Meghan E. McGrath, Gregory J. Fermann, Lauren A. Hudak, Nina Gentile, Anna Marie Chang, David A. Peak, Jose L. Pascual, Mark J. Seamon, Paulina Sergot, W. Frank Peacock, Deborah Diercks, Leon D. Sanchez, Niels Rathlev, Robert Domeier, John Patrick Haran, Claire Pearson, Vishnu P. Murty, Thomas R. Insel, Paul Dagum, Jukka Pekka Onnela, Steven E. Bruce, Bradley N. Gaynes, Jutta Joormann, Mark W. Miller, Robert H. Pietrzak, Daniel J. Buysse, Diego A. Pizzagalli, Scott L. Rauch, Steven E. Harte, Larry J. Young, Deanna M. Barch, Lauren A.M. Lebois, Sanne J.H. van Rooij, Beatriz Luna, Jordan W. Smoller, Robert F. Dougherty, Thaddeus W.W. Pace, Elisabeth Binder, John F. Sheridan, James M. Elliott, Archana Basu, Menachem Fromer, Tushar Parlikar, Alan M. Zaslavsky, Ronald Kessler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


Adverse posttraumatic neuropsychiatric sequelae (APNS) are common among civilian trauma survivors and military veterans. These APNS, as traditionally classified, include posttraumatic stress, postconcussion syndrome, depression, and regional or widespread pain. Traditional classifications have come to hamper scientific progress because they artificially fragment APNS into siloed, syndromic diagnoses unmoored to discrete components of brain functioning and studied in isolation. These limitations in classification and ontology slow the discovery of pathophysiologic mechanisms, biobehavioral markers, risk prediction tools, and preventive/treatment interventions. Progress in overcoming these limitations has been challenging because such progress would require studies that both evaluate a broad spectrum of posttraumatic sequelae (to overcome fragmentation) and also perform in-depth biobehavioral evaluation (to index sequelae to domains of brain function). This article summarizes the methods of the Advancing Understanding of RecOvery afteR traumA (AURORA) Study. AURORA conducts a large-scale (n = 5000 target sample) in-depth assessment of APNS development using a state-of-the-art battery of self-report, neurocognitive, physiologic, digital phenotyping, psychophysical, neuroimaging, and genomic assessments, beginning in the early aftermath of trauma and continuing for 1 year. The goals of AURORA are to achieve improved phenotypes, prediction tools, and understanding of molecular mechanisms to inform the future development and testing of preventive and treatment interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-296
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular Psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020


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