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Wayne State University THINK Lab's Dr. Hilary Marusak Studying the Impact of Childhood Stress, Trauma

Southfield (CW50) - Dr. Hilary Marusak is the Director of Wayne State University's THINK Lab. "THINK" is an acronym for Trauma History Investigation of Neurodevelopment in Kids. The THINK lab studies brain development in children and adolescents and the impacts of environmental stress on the brain, as well as anxiety and PTSD.

These traumas that they study can be found in interpersonal forms, such as violence, as well as medical-related traumas from a cancer diagnosis or treatment. Their research also targets the recovery from these traumas through exercise, meditation, or pharmaceuticals.

Dr. Marusak is also an Assistant Professor at Wayne State University School of Medicine, where she passes on her knowledge of the brain to the next generation of neuroscientists like her mentors once did for her. The students from the school help in the research and studies in the THINK Lab, anywhere from undergrads to students receiving their doctoral and master degrees. There are times when students from high school join the teams at the lab for help.

Teaching others about neuroscience is not the only thing that Dr. Marusak does in the industry though. She is also the Science Advisor for the nonprofit organization Kids Kicking Cancer. The nonprofit focuses on assisting kids in their battles and recovery from cancer through the use of martial arts. Dr. Marusak helps study the impact that martial arts has on these children.

When she's not at the school or in the lab, Dr. Marusak hosts a podcast focused on the brain called brainSTEM. In March of 2021 the podcast was launched to help reduce the stigma about brain disorders while providing easy-to-understand information about the brain basis. Each episode features an interview with someone affected by the disorder followed by an interview with an expert who studies or treats the disorder.

Find brainSTEM wherever you listen to podcasts, or find out more on

Jackie and Hilary
Community Connect Host Jackie Paige, with Dr. Hilary Marusak, Director of WSU's THINK Lab

Dr. Hilary Marusak, Director of WSU's THINK Lab, joins Jackie Paige on Community Connect to talk about her love of science, getting more girls into the industry, and what she does at the THINK Lab to help children in our community.

Watch Community Connect, Saturday at 7am on CW50

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