Nate Harnett ’13, PhD


Originally from Binghamton NY, Nathaniel, Nate, Harnett graduated from the Ithaca College School of Humanities and Sciences in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and received research mentorship from Dr. Brandy Bessette-Symons. He then earned his PhD in Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience from the University of Alabama at Birmingham under the mentorship of Dr. David Knight where he studied the neurobiological basis of threat learning and completed postdoctoral training at McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School with Dr. Kerry Ressler.

Nate is now an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School where he leads the Neurobiology of Affective and Traumatic Experiences Laboratory. His laboratory works to uncover the brain basis for why people develop trauma and stress-related disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He and his team use multimodal neuroimaging, psychophysiology, and behavioral assessments to probe cognitive-affective function in individuals recently exposed to trauma. The laboratory also seeks to understand how pre-traumatic influences like deprivation and childhood trauma affect how people respond to later stressful events. Nate’s research program receives funding through several federal and private agencies including the National Institutes of Health, The Brain and Behavioral Research Foundation, The Ford Foundation, and the Department of Defense. His team’s research has been published in major psychiatry journals such as The American Journal of Psychiatry, JAMA Psychiatry, Biological Psychiatry, and Molecular Psychiatry, with press recognition from outlets such as CNN, PBS, and TODAY.

Nate currently lives in Boston where he can be found perusing the local museums, exploring The Charles River, or upside down enjoying his newfound love of aerial silks.