Layla Banihashemi

Assistant Professor
M.S., Ph.D.
University of Pittsburgh
Department of Psychiatry
Pittsburgh, PA

Staff Profile
Dr. Banihashemi is interested in how early life experience shapes neural circuits that form brain-body connections, or central visceral circuits. Her research in rat models has focused on how maternal separation influences the circuit strength of preautonomic circuits and the stressor-evoked activity of hypothalamic, limbic forebrain, and brainstem visceral regions. More recently, she has been researching the relationships between childhood adversity (e.g., physical and emotional abuse) and the structure and function of central visceral regions in human brain, using neuroimaging techniques.

For more information about Dr. Banihashemi’s current projects, click here.


  • Banihashemi, L. and Rinaman, L. (2006). “Noradrenergic Inputs to the Bed Nucleus of the Stria Terminalis and the Paraventricular Nucleus of the Hypothalamus Underlie Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis but Not Hypophagic or Conditioned Avoidance Responses to Systemic Yohimbine.” Journal of Neuroscience 26(44):11442-11453
  •  Banihashemi, L. and Rinaman, L. (2010). “Repeated brief postnatal maternal separation enhances hypothalamic gastric autonomic circuits in juvenile rats.” Neuroscience 165(1):265-277.
  • Rinaman, L., Banihashemi, L., and Koehnle T.J. (2011). “Early experience shapes the functional organization of stress-responsive visceral circuits.” Physiology and Behavior 104(4):632-640.
  •  Banihashemi, L., O’Neill, E.J., and Rinaman, L (2011). “Central neural responses to restraint stress are altered in rats with an early life history of repeated brief maternal separation.” Neuroscience 192:413-428.
  • Banihashemi, L., Sheu, L.K., Midei, A.J., and Gianaros, P.J. (2014). “Childhood physical abuse predicts stressor-evoked activity in limbic forebrain and hypothalamic circuits.”  Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 2014; doi: 10.1093/scan/nsu073