Erika Wolf, a clinical psychologist in the National Center for PTSD/VA Boston Healthcare System and an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine (MED), is a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). She is the second person from the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder to win this prestigious honor in the past three years and the third from VA Boston.
Wolf was one of 105 recipients to receive this honor, which is the highest bestowed by the US government for early career scientists and engineers. Nominees are considered the most meritorious scientists and engineers whose early accomplishments show the greatest promise for assuring America’s preeminence in science and engineering and contribute to the awarding agencies’ missions. Wolf will receive her award at a Washington, DC, ceremony in spring 2016, along with $75,000 to support her research.
“We’re delighted by this news; it is well-deserved recognition. Erika’s work on the genetics of PTSD is on the cutting edge of neuroscience,” says Terence M. Keane, associate chief of staff for research and development at the VA Boston Healthcare System and director of the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder’s Behavioral Science Division, as well as a MED professor and vice chair of psychiatry and professor of clinical psychology.
Wolf earned her PhD from Boston University’s clinical psychology program and completed her internship and postdoctoral fellowship at the VA Boston/MED. Her areas of expertise include genetic and environmental contributors to PTSD and related comorbidity, PTSD-related accelerated cellular aging, and latent variable approaches to measuring post-traumatic psychopathology. She belongs to several professional organizations, including the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) and Division 56 (Trauma Psychology) of the American Psychological Association (APA).
In addition to the PECASE, Wolf has received a VA Patient Care Service Award, the Chaim and Bela Danieli Young Professional Award from ISTSS, the Division 56 Outstanding Contribution to Trauma Psychology by an Early Career Psychologist Award from APA, Outstanding Dissertation in the Field of Trauma Psychology from APA, and Outstanding Student Achievement Award from the ISTSS.
Established by President Clinton in 1996, the Presidential Early Career Awards are coordinated by the Office of Science and Technology Policy within the Executive Office of the President. Awardees are selected for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education, or community outreach.