University of Massachusetts Amherst

Search Google Appliance


Nichole Cobb



Methodology Workshop Scholarship

School or College: 

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences


Nichole M. Cobb is a doctoral student in social welfare at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University. Under the mentorship of her advisor, Dr. Megan R. Holmes, Nichole’s research broadly focuses on the neurobiology of borderline personality disorder, as well as efficacious psychotherapeutic intervention. Her dissertation will examine the influence of genes on sensitivity to early environmental adversity and subsequent behavioral response, as well as the impact of those behavioral responses on intergenerational gene expression and transmission of borderline personality disorder (behavioral epigenetics).



Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), marked by its extreme emotional volatility and resultant functional impairment, chaotic and abusive interpersonal relationships, high incidence of self-harm and suicide, high impulsivity, and comorbid psychiatric illness, and has tremendous financial, social, and emotional costs for individuals, families, and systems. Given the substantial treatment non-response rate for BPD, Nichole’s research seeks to bolster the known body literature regarding neurobiological and metacognitive processes underpinning BPD etiology and subsequent treatment efficacy.  

Expected outcomes of her research include the potential demonstration of neuroplasticity and the ability to reduce metacognitive deficits, a reduction of personality psychopathology, and reduction in family dysfunction. Long-term goals include the addition of this intervention to the repertoire of evidence-based intervention to promote individual recovery, preservation of BPD families, and prevention of transgenerational transmission of BPD that for some currently happens through dysfunctional parenting and traumatic upbringing.  



Student Award Academic Year: