Marta Peciña, MD, PhD

  • Assistant Professor, Psychiatry

    Education & Training

  • Graduate School – University of Navarra, School of Medicine, Spain – PhD – Neuroscience
  • Medical School – University of Navarra, School of Medicine, Spain – MD
  • Residency – University of Navarra Medical Center, Spain – Psychiatry
  • Post-Doctoral – University of Michigan - Neuroimaging
Research Grants

NIH Grants:  K23, R01

Research Summary

Dr. Pecina’s research interests stem from her clinical interest in the neurobiology and treatment of depression. Her laboratory collaborates with neuroscientists, engineers, psychologists, physicians, and others to establish neuroimaging biomarkers of antidepressant treatment response in humans. In particular, Dr. Pecina’s lab aims to understand how individual expectancies and learning mechanisms might influence antidepressant treatment outcomes. She aims to tease out the neural circuitry involved in recovery from depression under positive expectations, the so-called “placebo effect,” from that engaged during antidepressant treatment. The second goal of her research is to investigate the molecular bases of depression and their treatments. In particular, she is interested in the role of the dopamine and opioid system in expectancy and reinforcement learning deficits of depression. A third goal is to develop computational models that incorporate cognitive and neural terms into the prediction of expectancies and mood improvement. Dr. Pecina’s laboratory utilizes a number of neuroimaging methodologies, including task-based and resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), positron emission tomography (PET), computational approaches to behavior and mood, and blood biomarkers (e.g. cortisol, endorphins, BDNF). She has extensive experience in training medical students, graduate students, residents, and fellows. Her educational interest primarily focuses on training the next generation of physician-scientists and scientists interested in understanding the neural and molecular bases of mood and the prediction of treatment responses.

Representative Publications
  1. Peciña M, Azhar H, Love TM, Lu T, Fredrickson BL, Stohler CS, Zubieta JK. Personality trait predictors of placebo analgesia and neurobiological correlates. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2013 Mar;38(4):639-46. doi: 10.1038/npp.2012.227. Epub 2012 Nov 16. PubMed PMID: 23187726; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3572460.
  2. Peciña M, Love T, Stohler CS, Goldman D, Zubieta JK. Effects of the Mu opioid receptor polymorphism (OPRM1 A118G) on pain regulation, placebo effects and associated personality trait measures. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2015 Mar;40(4):957-65. doi: 10.1038/npp.2014.272. Epub 2014 Oct 13. PubMed PMID: 25308352; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4330509.
  3. Peciña M, Bohnert AS, Sikora M, Avery ET, Langenecker SA, Mickey BJ, Zubieta JK. Association Between Placebo-Activated Neural Systems and Antidepressant Responses: Neurochemistry of Placebo Effects in Major Depression. JAMA Psychiatry. 2015 Nov;72(11):1087-94. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.1335. PubMed PMID: 26421634; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4758856.
  4. Sikora M, Heffernan J, Avery ET, Mickey BJ, Zubieta JK, Peciña M. Salience Network Functional Connectivity Predicts Placebo Effects in Major Depression. Biol Psychiatry Cogn Neurosci Neuroimaging. 2016 Jan;1(1):68-76. PubMed PMID: 26709390; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4689203.
  5. Peciña M, Sikora M, Avery ET, Heffernan J, Peciña S, Mickey BJ, Zubieta JK. Striatal dopamine D2/3 receptor-mediated neurotransmission in major depression: Implications for anhedonia, anxiety and treatment response. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2017 Oct;27(10):977-986. doi: 10.1016/j.euroneuro.2017.08.427. Epub 2017 Sep 1. PubMed PMID: 28870407; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5623119.
  6. Peciña M, Karp JF, Mathew S, Todtenkopf MS, Ehrich EW, Zubieta JK. Endogenous opioid system dysregulation in depression: implications for new therapeutic approaches. Mol Psychiatry. 2018 Jun 28. doi: 10.1038/s41380-018-0117-2. [Epub ahead of print] Review. PubMed PMID: 29955162.
  7. Peciña M, Heffernan J, Wilson J, Zubieta JK, Dombrovski AY. Prefrontal expectancy and reinforcement-driven antidepressant placebo effects. Transl Psychiatry. 2018 Oct 15;8(1):222. [Epub ahead of print]