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The AURORA Study: A Longitudinal, Multimodal Library of Brain Biology and Function after Traumatic Stress Exposure


McLean, Samuel A.; Ressler, Kerry J.; Koenen, Karestan C.; Neylan, Thomas; Germine, Laura; Jovanovic, Tanja; Clifford, Gari D.; Zeng, Donglin; An, Xinming; & Linnstaedt, Sarah D., et al. (2020). The AURORA Study: A Longitudinal, Multimodal Library of Brain Biology and Function after Traumatic Stress Exposure. Molecular Psychiatry, 25(2), 283-296. PMCID: PMC6981025


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 (nā€‰=ā€‰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.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Molecular Psychiatry

Series Title

Mol Psychiatry. 2020 Sep 28. doi: 10.1038/s41380-020-00897-y. Online ahead of print. PMID: 32989243


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



Data Set/Study

Advancing Understanding of RecOvery afteR traumA (AURORA) Study