Probing Psychological and Biological Responses to Stress

European Journal of Psychotraumatology Editor-in-Chief Miranda Olff talks PTSD, her role as the newly-appointed president of the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies and “her most compelling project to date.”
Just a few years ago, little, if anything, was known of trauma’s link to the incredibly complicated and subtle hormone oxytocin.
“I was intrigued by the association,” says Olff, who for years has been probing psychological and biological responses to stress — authoring and co-authoring dozens of papers on everything from changes in cortisol levels post-psychotherapy in individuals with PTSD, to the course of mental health disorders following disaster.
Olff is currently Head of the Center for Psychological Trauma, Department of Psychiatry, Academic Medical Center of the University of Amsterdam; and a professor at Arq Psychotrauma Expert Group, Diemen.
In 2012, she published Bonding after trauma: on the role of social support and the oxytocin system in traumatic stress. This work gave rise to a new line of research that she continues to pursue today – together with a team of researchers she leads at the Center for Psychological Trauma at the Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam.
Today, she and her research team are on the cusp of publishing a large body of data around the topic of oxytocin and its role in the treatment of PTSD.
“Our understanding of PTSD is growing rapidly – as are the biological and technological developments that will change the way we assess and treat patients with PTSD,” adds Olff. Olff and her team are also pioneering with e-health and m-health applications to alleviate the negative impact of trauma “It’s enormously gratifying to be in the midst of this research – particularly, at this point in time.”
In 2010, European Journal of Psychotraumatology (EJPT) launched with Professor Olff at the helm; this was the beginning of what she calls “her most compelling project to date.”
Recently appointed president of the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies, Professor Olff is enthusiastic about her many roles: helping connect researchers internationally, driving vital conversation pertaining to PTSD – and as editor of EJPT: ensuring vital PTSD works are published and available to everyone needing or wanting access.
“I was reminded of this recently at a conference in Ukraine where I heard time and again from the people I met how excited they were that they could access the research – free,” adds Professor Olff. “We shouldn’t underestimate – especially in our field of research – how vital it is that our work is freely available to all.”

In: European journal of psychotraumatology, ISSN 2000-8066
Interview met Miranda Olff