Distinguished Scientist: Jennifer Blackford, PhD

Jennifer Blackford, PhD

Jennifer Blackford, PhD

This profile is part of a series to highlight the researchers who will be honored at a ceremony on Nov. 9 for UNMC’s Scientist Laureate, Research Leadership, Distinguished Scientist, New Investigator and Community Service to Research Award recipients.

Distinguished Scientist

The Distinguished Scientist Award — which is sponsored by the chancellor — recognizes researchers who have been among the most productive scientists at UNMC during the past five years.

  • Name: Jennifer Urbano Blackford, PhD
  • Title: Hattie B. Munroe Professor and Director of Research, Munroe-Meyer Institute
  • Joined UNMC: April 2021
  • Hometown: Miami, Florida

Please describe your research focus in three words or less: Anxiety brain circuitry

Why is research important in the world today? Anxiety is the most prevalent mental health disorder in the U.S., and rates are rapidly rising. Anxiety most often emerges in childhood and causes significant impairment across almost every area of life. Anxiety is usually chronic, persisting into adulthood, and significantly increases risk for later depression and substance use disorders.

My research will make a difference because: We still know remarkably little about the neurobiological mechanisms that contribute to anxiety. Increasing our understanding of these mechanisms can lead to identifying the children at greatest risk for developing anxiety and can provide novel targets for preventions and interventions.

The best advice I’ve ever received is: The key to success in science is the three Ps: be persistent, positive and passionate.

Three (or four) things you may not know about me are:

  • I am an avid knitter and reader, mainly detective, dystopian, adventure and fantasy novels.
  • I left science for eight years and returned in a new field.
  • I can nap for hours and still fall asleep at night.
  • I pioneered the investigation of the human bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST).


  1. Matthew Stelzer says:

    Well deserved! Congratulations!!!

  2. Brandy Clarke says:

    Congratulations Dr. Blackford!

  3. Brigette Vaughan says:

    Congratulations, Dr. Blackford!

  4. Ken Zoucha says:

    Thanks for moving to Omaha, Dr. Blackford. One thing not mentioned in your article is your mentoring superpower. I very much appreciate how you have worked with our faculty members and helped them build on their strengths!

  5. Imayavaramban Lakshmanan says:


  6. Barbara Jackson says:

    Well deserved honor. Congrats.

  7. Amy Nordness says:

    Congratulations, Dr. Blackford! You are building an amazing program at MMI!

  8. Angela Maynard says:

    Congratulations Dr. Blackford! This is a well deserved honor.

Comments are closed.