Robin Aupperle - Faculty & Adjuncts

Robin Aupperle, PhD

Robin Aupperle, PhD
Associate Professor of Community Medicine
College of Health Sciences
Community Medicine
Oxley Health Sciences Facility Room LIBR


PhD – University of Kansas MA – University of Kansas BA – Oklahoma State University

Research Interests

My research focuses on the use of translational and neurobiological methods to enhance our understanding of anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I am particularly interested in (1) the intersect between cognitive and emotional processing and how these together influence decision-making and (2) how knowledge from neuroscientific research may be used to enhance treatment of anxiety and PTSD. In regards to the former, I have conducted research related to neuropsychological correlates of PTSD and subclinical anxiety and have developed an emotional decision-making task (the Approach-Avoidance Conflict [AAC] task) to better understand behavioral, physiological, and neural correlates of anxiety. In regards to the latter, I have been involved in research investigating behavioral and neural mechanisms of current pharmacologic and behavioral treatments for anxiety and PTSD, and the investigation of novel cognitive-based interventions (e.g., cognitive training).


Journal Articles

  • DeVille D., Kuplicki R., Stewart J., Aupperle R., Bodurka J., Cha Y.-H., Feinstein J., Savitz J., Victor T., Paulus M., and Khalsa S. Diminished Responses to Bodily Threat and Blunted Interoception in Suicide Attempters. Vol. 9, eLife, 2020.
  • Stewart J., White E., Kuplicki R., Akeman E., Bodurka J., Cha Y., Feinstein J., Khalsa S., Savitz J., Victor T., Paulus M., and Aupperle R. Women With Major Depressive Disorder, Irrespective of Comorbid Anxiety Disorders, Show Blunted Bilateral Frontal Responses During Win and Loss Anticipation. Vol. 273, Journal of affective disorders, 2020, pp. 157-66.
  • *Clausen, A.N., Aupperle, R.L., Yeh, H.W., Waller, D., Payne, J., Kuplicki, R., Akeman, E., Paulus, M., and Tulsa 1000 Investigators (in press). Machine learning analysis of the relationships between gray matter volume and childhood trauma in a transdiagnostic community-based sample. Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging. doi: 10.1016/j.bpsc.2019.03.001

  • Butt, M., Espinal, E., Aupperle, R. L., Nikulina, V., Stewart, J. L. (2019). The Electrical Aftermath: Brain Signals of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Filtered through a Clinical Lens. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 10, 368. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00368

  • Ford B., Yolken R., Aupperle R., Teague T., Irwin M., Paulus M., and Savitz J. Association of Early-Life Stress With Cytomegalovirus Infection in Adults With Major Depressive Disorder. Vol. 76, JAMA Psychiatry, 2019, pp. 545-7.
  • Clausen A., Aupperle R., Yeh H., Waller D., Payne J., Kuplicki R., Akeman E., and Paulus M. Machine Learning Analysis of the Relationships Between Gray Matter Volume and Childhood Trauma in a Transdiagnostic Community-Based Sample. Biological psychiatry. Cognitive neuroscience and neuroimaging, 2019.
  • Jak A., Jurick S., Crocker L., Sanderson-Cimino M., Aupperle R., Rodgers C., Thomas K., Boyd B., Norman S., Lang A., Keller A., Schiehser D., and Twamley E. SMART-CPT for Veterans With Comorbid Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and History of Traumatic Brain Injury: A Randomised Controlled Trial. Vol. 90, Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, 2019, pp. 333-41.
  • Clausen A., Thelen J., Francisco A., Bruce J., Martin L., McDowd J., and Aupperle R. Computer-Based Executive Function Training for Combat Veterans With PTSD: A Pilot Clinical Trial Assessing Feasibility and Predictors of Dropout. Vol. 10, Frontiers in Psychiatry, 2019.
  • Stewart, J. L., May, A. C., Aupperle, R. L., & Bodurka, J. (2019). Forging neuroimaging targets for recovery in opioid use disorder. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 10, 117 (online publication). doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00117

  • Kirlic, Namik et al. “Latent Variable Analysis of Negative Affect and Its Contributions to Neural Responses during Shock Anticipation.” Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (2018): n. pag. Print.

  • Khalsa S., Adolphs R., Cameron O., Critchley H., Davenport P., Feinstein J., Feusner J., Garfinkel S., Lane R., Mehling W., Meuret A., Nemeroff C., Oppenheimer S., Petzschner F., Pollatos O., Rhudy J., Schramm L., Simmons W., Stein M., Stephan K., Van den Bergh O., Van Diest I., von Leupoldt A., Paulus M., Ainley V., Al Zoubi O., Aupperle R., Avery J., Baxter L., Benke C., Berner L., Bodurka J., Breese E., Brown T., Burrows K., Cha Y., Clausen A., Cosgrove K., Deville D., Duncan L., Duquette P., Ekhtiari H., Fine T., Ford B., Garcia Cordero I., Gleghorn D., Guereca Y., Harrison N., Hassanpour M., Hechler T., Heller A., Hellman N., Herbert B., Jarrahi B., Kerr K., Kirlic N., Klabunde M., Kraynak T., Kriegsman M., Kroll J., Kuplicki R., Lapidus R., Le T., Hagen K., Mayeli A., Morris A., Naqvi N., Oldroyd K., Pané-Farré C., Phillips R., Poppa T., Potter W., Puhl M., Safron A., Sala M., Savitz J., Saxon H., Schoenhals W., Stanwell-Smith C., Teed A., Terasawa Y., Thompson K., Toups M., Umeda S., Upshaw V., Victor T., Wierenga C., Wohlrab C., Yeh H., Yoris A., Zeidan F., Zotev V., and Zucker N. Interoception and Mental Health: A Roadmap. Vol. 3, Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging, 2018, pp. 501-13.
  • Le TT, Kuplicki RT, McKinney BA, Yeh HW, Thompson WK, Paulus MP; Tulsa 1000 Investigators. A Nonlinear Simulation Framework Supports Adjusting for Age When Analyzing BrainAGE. Front Aging Neurosci. 2018 Oct 24;10:317. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2018.00317. eCollection 2018. PubMed PMID: 30405393; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6208001.

  • Le T., Kuplicki R., Yeh H., Aupperle R., Khalsa S., Simmons W., and Paulus M. Effect of Ibuprofen on BrainAGE: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Dose-Response Exploratory Study. Vol. 3, Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging, 2018, pp. 836-43.
  • Aupperle R. Evidence over Dogma: Embracing an Expanding Repertoire of Ptsd Treatment Options. Vol. 175, American Journal of Psychiatry, 2018, pp. 927-8.
  • McDermott T., Kirlic N., and Aupperle R. Roadmap for Optimizing the Clinical Utility of Emotional Stress Paradigms in Human Neuroimaging Research. Vol. 8, Neurobiology of Stress, 2018, pp. 134-46.
  • Victor T., Khalsa S., Simmons W., Feinstein J., Savitz J., Aupperle R., Yeh H., Bodurka J., and Paulus M. Tulsa 1000: A Naturalistic Study Protocol for Multilevel Assessment and Outcome Prediction in a Large Psychiatric Sample. Vol. 8, BMJ Open, 2018.
  • Jurick, S et al. “Contributions to Executive Dysfunction in Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom Veterans With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and History of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury.” The Journal of head trauma rehabilitation (2017): n. pag. Print.

  • Clausen, A et al. “PTSD and Cognitive Symptoms Relate to Inhibition-Related Prefrontal Activation and Functional Connectivity.” Depression and anxiety 34.5 (2017): 427–436. Print.

  • Kirlic, N, J Young, and Robin Aupperle. “Animal to Human Translational Paradigms Relevant for Approach Avoidance Conflict Decision Making.” Behaviour research and therapy (2017): n. pag. Print.

  • Chrysikou, E, C Gorey, and Robin Aupperle. “Anodal Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation over Right Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex Alters Decision Making during Approach-Avoidance Conflict.” Social cognitive and affective neuroscience 12.3 (2017): 468–475. Print.

  • Clausen A., Billinger S., Sisante J., Suzuki H., and Aupperle R. Preliminary Evidence for the Impact of Combat Experiences on Gray Matter Volume of the Posterior Insula. Vol. 8, Frontiers in Psychology, 2017.
  • Kirlic N., Aupperle R., Misaki M., Kuplicki R., and Alvarez R. Recruitment of Orbitofrontal Cortex During Unpredictable Threat Among Adults at Risk for Affective Disorders. Vol. 7, Brain and Behavior, 2017.
  • Jak, A et al. “Neurocognition in PTSD: Treatment Insights and Implications.” Current topics in behavioral neurosciences (2016): n. pag. Print.

  • Clausen, A et al. “Pilot Investigation of PTSD, Autonomic Reactivity, and Cardiovascular Health in Physically Healthy Combat Veterans.” PloS one 11.9 (2016): e0162547. Print.

  • Mackey, S et al. “Greater Preference Consistency during the Willingness-to-Pay Task Is Related to Higher Resting State Connectivity between the Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex and the Ventral Striatum.” Brain imaging and behavior 10.3 (2016): 730–8. Print.

  • Boyd, Briana et al. “Case Report on the Effects of Cognitive Processing Therapy on Psychological, Neuropsychological, and Speech Symptoms in Comorbid PTSD and TBI.” Cognitive and Behavioral Practice 23.2 (2016): 173–183. Print.

  • Clausen, A et al. “Combat PTSD and Implicit Behavioral Tendencies for Positive Affective Stimuli: A Brief Report.” Frontiers in psychology 7 (2016): 758. Print.

  • Aupperle, Robin et al. “Neural Responses to Maternal Praise and Criticism: Relationship to Depression and Anxiety Symptoms in High-Risk Adolescent Girls.” NeuroImage. Clinical 11 (2016): 548–54. Print.

  • Aupperle, R.L., Stillman, A.N., Simmons, A.N., Paulus, M.P., Stein, MS. (2016). Intimate Partner Violence PTSD and Neural Correlates of Inhibition. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 29 (1): 33–40. doi: 10.1002/jts.22068

  • Paulus, Martin, and Robin Aupperle. “Finding the Balance Between Safety and Threat May Hold the Key to Success When Treating PTSD.” American Journal of Psychiatry 172.12 (2015): 1173–1175. Print.

  • Francisco, Alex et al. “Are Consumers as Constrained as Hens Are Confined? Brain Activations and Behavioral Choices after Informational Influence.” Journal of Agricultural & Food Industrial Organization 13.1 (2015): n. pag. Print.

  • Jak A., Aupperle R., Rodgers C., Lang A., Schiehser D., Norman S., and Twamley E. Evaluation of a Hybrid Treatment for Veterans With Comorbid Traumatic Brain Injury and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Study Protocol for a Randomized Controlled Trial. Vol. 45, Contemporary Clinical Trials, 2015, pp. 210-6.
  • McFadden B., Lusk J., Crespi J., Cherry J., Martin L., Aupperle R., and Bruce A. Can Neural Activation in Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex Predict Responsiveness to Information? An Application to Egg Production Systems and Campaign Advertising. Vol. 10, PLoS ONE, 2015.
  • McFadden, B.R., Lusk, J.L., Crespi, J.M., Cherry, J.B.C., Martin, L.E., Aupperle, R.L., Bruce, A.S. (in press). Can Neural Activation in Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex Predict Responsiveness to Information? An Application to Egg Production Systems and Proposition 2 Advertising. PLoS One.

  • Aupperle, R.L., Melrose, A., Francisco, A., Paulus, M.P., Stein, M.B. (2014). Neural substrates of approach-avoidance conflict decision-making. Human Brain Mapping, 36 (2): 449-62. doi: 10.1002.hbm.22639 PMCID: PMC4300249

  • Ness, A. Martin, L., Bruce, A., Lepping R., Patrician, T. Hancock, L., O’Toole, K., Aupperle, R.L., Bruce, J. (2014). Pre-surgical cortical activation to food pictures is associated with weight loss following bariatric surgery. Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases, 10 (6): 188-195. doi: 10.1016/j.soard.2014.06.005 PMID: 25443066

  • Lark, S.L., Bruce, A.S., Aupperle, R.L. (2014). The influence of a working memory task on affective perception of facial expressions. PLoS One, 9 (10): e11-74. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0111074 PMCID: PMC4210225

  • Ness A., Bruce J., Bruce A., Aupperle R., Lepping R., Martin L., Hancock L., Patrician T., Malley S., Selim N., and Savage C. Pre-Surgical Cortical Activation to Food Pictures Is Associated With Weight Loss Following Bariatric Surgery. Vol. 10, Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases, 2014, pp. 1188-95.
  • Aupperle, R.L., Connolly, C.G., Stillman, A., May, A.C., Paulus, M.P. (2013). Deployment and Post-deployment Experiences in OEF/OIF Veterans: Relationship to Gray Matter Volume. PLoS ONE 8(9): e75880. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0075880

  • Taylor, C., Simmons A.N., Aupperle, R.L., Amir, N., Stein, M.B., Paulus, M.P. (2013). Neural correlates of a computerized attention modification program in anxious subjects. Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience. doi: 10.1093/scan/nst128

  • Aupperle, R.L., Allard, C.B., Grimes, E.M., Simmons, A.N., Flagan, T., Cissell, C.H., Thorp, S.R., Norman, S.B., Paulus, M.P., Stein, M.B. (2013). Neural responses during emotional processing before and after cognitive trauma therapy for battered women. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 214 (1): 48-55. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2013.05.001

  • Aupperle R., Allard C., Simmons A., Flagan T., Thorp S., Norman S., Paulus M., and Stein M. Neural Responses During Emotional Processing before and After Cognitive Trauma Therapy for Battered Women. Vol. 214, Psychiatry Research – Neuroimaging, 2013, pp. 48-55.
  • Taylor C., Aupperle R., Flagan T., Simmons A., Amir N., Stein M., and Paulus M. Neural Correlates of a Computerized Attention Modification Program in Anxious Subjects. Vol. 9, Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 2013, pp. 1379-87.
  • Mano, Q.R., Brown, G. G., Bolden, K., Aupperle, R., Sullivan, S., Paulus, M.P., Stein, M.B. (2012). Curvilinear relationship between phonological working memory load and socioemotional modulation. Cognition and Emotion. doi: 10.1080/02699931.2012.712948

  • Aupperle, R.L., Allard, C.B., Grimes, E.M., Simmons, A.N., Flagan, T., Cissell, C.H., Thorp, S.R., Norman, S.B., Paulus, M.P., Stein, M.B. (2012). Neural systems dysfunction during anticipation in women with posttraumatic stress disorder related to intimate partner violence. Archives of General Psychiatry, 69 (4): 360-371. doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2011.153

  • Aupperle, R.L., Tankersley, D., Ravindran, L., Stein, N.R., Stein, M.B., Paulus, M.P. (2012). Pregabalin effects on amygdala and insula activation during emotional face processing. Frontiers of Human Neuroscience, 6, 1-14. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2012.00042

  • Aupperle R., Allard C., Grimes E., Simmons A., Flagan T., Behrooznia M., Cissell S., Twamley E., Thorp S., Norman S., Paulus M., and Stein M. Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex Activation During Emotional Anticipation and Neuropsychological Performance in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Vol. 69, Archives of General Psychiatry, 2012, pp. 360-71.
  • Aupperle R., Tankersley D., Ravindran L., Flagan T., Stein N., Stein M., and Paulus M. Pregabalin Effects on Neural Response to Emotional Faces. Vol. 6, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 2012.
  • Aupperle, R.L., Sullivan, S.R., Melrose, J., Stein, M.B., Paulus, M,P. (2011). A reverse translational approach to quantify approach-avoidance conflict in humans. Behavioural Brain Research, 225 (2): 455-463. doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2011.08.003

  • Aupperle, R.L., Melrose, J., Stein, M.B, Paulus, M.P (2011). Executive function and PTSD: Disengaging from trauma. Neuropharmacology, 62 (2):686-94. doi:10.1016/j.neuropharm.2011.02.008

  • Aupperle, R.L., Lakshmi, R., Tankersley, D., Flagan, T., Simmons, A.N., Stein, M.S., Paulus, M.P. (2011). Pregabalin influences amygdala and insula activation during anticipation. Neuropsychopharmacology 36 (7): 1466–1477. doi:10.1038/npp.2011.32

  • Aupperle, R.L., Hale, L.R., Chambers, R.J., Cain, S.E, Barth, F.X., Sharp, S.C., Hall, S.B., Denney, D.R., Savage, C.R. (2009). An fMRI study examining effects of acute D-cycloserine during symptom provocation in spider phobia. CNS Spectrums, 14 :556-571.

  • Aupperle, R.L., Denney, D.R., Lynch, S.G. (2008). Omega-3 fatty acids and multiple sclerosis: Relationship to depression. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 31 :127-135. doi: 10.1007/s10865-007-9139-y

  • Beatty, W., Aupperle, R. (2002). Sex differences in cognitive impairment in Multiple Sclerosis. Clinical Neuropsychologist, 16 :472-480. doi: 10.1076/clin.16.4.472.13904

  • Aupperle, R., Beatty, W., Shelton, F., Gontvoskey, S. (2002). Three screening batteries to detect cognitive impairment in Multiple Sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis, 8 :382-389. doi: 10.1191/1352458502ms832oa.

  • Aupperle R., Paulus M., Kuplicki R., Touthang J., Victor T., Yeh H.-W., and Khalsa S. Graphic Representation of the Life Course of Mental Health across the Spectrum of Mood, Anxiety, Eating, and Substance Use Disorders.
  • Kirlic N., Clausen A., Cosgrove K., McDermott T., Paulus M., Yeh H., and Aupperle R. A Pragmatic Clinical Trial Examining the Impact of a Resilience Program on College Student Mental Health.
  • Santiago J., Akeman E., Kirlic N., Clausen A., Cosgrove K., McDermott T., Mathis B., Paulus M., Craske M., Abelson J., Martell C., Wolitzky-Taylor K., Bodurka J., Thompson W., and Aupperle R. A Randomized Controlled Trial Examining Multi-Level Prediction of Response to Behavioral Activation and Exposure-Based Therapy for Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
  • Aupperle R., Cosgrove K., Kerr K., Silk J., DeVille D., Ratliff E., Burrows K., Moore A., Antonacci C., Misaki M., Tapert S., Bodurka J., Simmons K., and Morris A. Always on My Mind: Cross-Brain Associations of Mental Health Symptoms During Parent-Child Hyperscanning.
  • DeVille D., Kuplicki R., Stewart J., Paulus M., and Khalsa S. Diminished Responses to Bodily Threat and Blunted Cardiac Interoception in Suicide Attempters. Heightened Suffocation Fear Characterizes Eating, Mood, and Anxiety Disorders.
  • Zoubi O., Mayeli A., Misaki M., Zotev V., Tsuchiyagaito A., Refai H., Paulus M., and Bodurka J. BOLD Representation of Canonical EEG Microstates.
  • Aupperle R., Paulus M., Kuplicki R., Touthang J., Victor T., Yeh H.-W., and Khalsa S. Graphic Representation of the Life Course of Mental Health across the Spectrum of Mood, Anxiety, Eating, and Substance Use Disorders.
  • Lapidus R., Puhl M., Kuplicki R., Stewart J., Paulus M., Rhudy J., Feinstein J., and Khalsa S. Heightened Suffocation Fear Characterizes Eating, Mood, and Anxiety Disorders.
  • Jurick S., Crocker L., Merritt V., Sanderson-Cimino M., Keller A., Glassman L., Twamley E., Rodgers C., Schiehser D., Aupperle R., and Jak A. Independent and Synergistic Associations Between TBI Characteristics and PTSD Symptom Clusters on Cognitive Performance and Post-Concussive Symptoms in OEF/OIF Veterans.
  • Cosgrove K., Burrows K., Avery J., Kerr K., DeVille D., Aupperle R., Teague K., and Drevets W. Activity in Reward and Interoceptive Circuitry and Systemic Inflammation Relate to Appetite Change in Depression.

Book Chapters

  • Rezapour, T., Aupperle, R.L., Paulus, M.P., Ekhtiari, H. (in press). Neuroscience Informed Cognitive Intervention in Addiction Medicine. In Cognition and Addiction: A Researcher’s Guide From Mechanisms Towards Interventions, Chapter 29.

  • Ekhtiari H., Rezapour T., Aupperle R., and Paulus M. “Neuroscience-Informed Psychoeducation for Addiction Medicine: A Neurocognitive Perspective”. Progress in Brain Research, Vol. 235, 2017, pp. 239-64.
  • Stillman, A.N., Aupperle, R.L. (invited chapter, in press). Neuroanatomical correlates of PTSD: Risk, Resiliency, and Sequelae. In C.R. Martin, C. P. Preedy, and V. D. Patel (Eds.), Comprehensive Guide to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. London: Kings College London.

Invited Reviewed Articles

  • Aupperle, R.L., Paulus, M.P. (2010). Neural systems underlying approach and avoidance in anxiety disorders. Review. Dialogues of Clinical Neuroscience, 12 (4): 517-531.


Courses Taught

  • Independent Study

Professional Affiliations

  • Society of Biological Psychiatry
  • American Psychological Association
  • Anxiety and Depression Association of America
  • Society for Neuroscience
  • Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies
  • Oklahoma Psychological Association

Awards & Honors

  • ADAA Early Career Travel Award
  • SOBP Early Career Travel Award 2019
  • Top 2 Graduating Senior
  • Wentz Research Project Scholarship
  • Student Travel Award
  • Top 10 Graduating Senior
  • Outstanding Masters Thesis Award
  • Corre Anding Stegall Nation wide Leadership Award
  • B. Kent Houston Award for Excellence in Health Psychology
  • University of Kansas Madison and Lila Self Doctoral Fellowship
  • David Schulman Award for Excellence in Clinical Psychology
  • APF Graduate Research Scholarship
  • PEO National Scholar Fellowship
  • APA Dissertation Research Award
  • Early Career Travel Award
  • ADAA Career Development Award