Seema Bhatnagar, PhD

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Seema Bhatnagar, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care in the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Locations: Main Hospital
Appointments and Referrals: 1-800-TRY-CHOP (1-800-879-2467)

Education and Training

Graduate Degree

PhD in Neurological Sciences - McGill University, Quebec, Canada

MA in Psychology - University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada

Titles and Academic Titles

Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine

Departments and Services




Grafe, L.A., Eacret, D., Luz, S., Gotter, A.L., Winrow, C.J., Bhatnagar S. Orexin 2 receptor regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) response to acute and repeated stress. Neuroscience. 2017 Apr 21;348:313-323. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2017.02.038. PMID: 28257896

Grafe, L., Eacret, D., Luz, S., Bhatnagar, S. Orexins modulate sex differences in habituation to stress and cognitive flexibility. Biol Psychiatry. 2017 Apr 15;81(8):683-692. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2016.10.013. Epub 2016 Oct 18. PMID: 27955897

Holmes, A. Sex and Orexins: Uncovering a mechanism underlying sex differences in stress susceptibility. Biological Psychiatry, Volume 81, Issue 8, 15 April 2017, pages 642-644.


Chen, R.J., Kelly, G., Sengupta, A., Heydendael, W., Nicholas, B., Beltrami, S., Luz, S., Peixoto, L., Abel, T. Bhatnagar, S. (2015) Circulating microRNAs as biomarkers for stress resilience or vulnerability. Neuroscience Oct 1; 305:36-48 PMID: 26208845



Corbett, B., Luz, S., Bhatnagar, S.  Investigating the role of the paraventricular thalamic nucleus in regulating the stress response: potential molecular mechanisms. Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting Abstracts, 2016.

Corbett, B., Sotuyo, N., Pearson-Leary, J., Luz, S., Bhatnagar, S. Sphingosine 1 phosphate 3 receptors in the medial prefrontal cortex promote resilience to social defeat. Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting Abstracts, 2016.

Pearson-Leary, J., Bittinger, K., Tanes, C., Bhatnagar, S. Individual differences in the microbiome of rats resilient or vulnerable to the effects of chronic social defeat stress. Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting Abstracts, 2016.

Eacret, D., Grafe, L., Luz, S., Bhatnagar, S. Inhibition of orexin neurons by DREADDs promotes resilience to social defeat. Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting Abstracts, 2016.

Dustrude, E.T., Bernabe, C.S., Bhatnagar, S., Johnson, P.L. Moloshi, A.I., Shekhar, A. Orexin depolarizes central amygdala neurons via activation of orexin receptor 1 and downstream activity of sodium calcium exchanger. Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting Abstracts, 2016.


Eacret, D. Grafe, L., Luz, S., Wilson, L.N., Gotter, A., Winrow, C. Bhatnagar, S. Orexin 2 receptor regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) response to acute and repeated stress. Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting 2015.

Grafe, L., Cornfeld, A., Luz, S., Bhatnagar, S. The role of orexins in sex differences in the stress response and in cognitive function. Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting 2015.

Corbett, B., Beltrami, S., Luz, S., Sutoyo, N., Bhatnagar, S. Sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor dysregulation contributes to depressive-like behavior in stress-susceptible rats. Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting 2015.

Pearson-Leary, J., Eacret, D., Chen, R., Wilson, L., Bhatnagar, S. Interleukin-1 α in the ventral hippocampus mediates aspects of stress vulnerability. Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting 2015.

Blume-Rice, S., Luz, S., Eacret, D., Sotuyo, N., Valentino, R.J., Bhatnagar S. The effect of orexin receptor blockade on open field behaviors are both sex and age dependent. Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting 2015.



Dallman, M.F., Bhatnagar, S. & Viau V.  (2000). The HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal) axis  Encyclopedia of Stress.  Ed.  G. Fink, Academic Press.

Dallman, M.F. & Bhatnagar, S.  (2000). Chronic stress: Role of the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis.  Handbook of Physiology. 


Meaney, M.J., Bhatnagar, S., MacIntosh, D.S., McCormick, C.M., Shanks, N., Smythe, J.W., & Viau, V.  (1993). Perinatal stress and neuroendocrine development in rats.  In C.R. Pfeiffer (Ed.), Intense Stress and Mental Disturbance in Children.  American Psychiatric Press Inc.  New York.

Meaney, M.J., Bodnoff, S.R., Bhatnagar, S., O'Donnell, D.,Welner, S.A., & Poirier, J.  (1992). Glucocorticoids as mediators of brain aging.  In M.H. Makman and G.B. Stefano (Eds.), Model Systems:  Neuroregulatory Mechanisms in Aging.  Manchester University Press.

Meaney, M.J., O'Donnell, D., Viau, V., Bhatnagar, S., Sarrieau, A., Smythe, J.W., Shanks, N., and Walker, C.-D.  (1991). Corticosteroid Receptors in Rat Brain and Pituitary During Development and Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) Function.  In P. McLaughlin and I. Zagon (Eds.), Receptors and the Developing Nervous System.  Chapman and Hall, London.

Meaney, M.J., Mitchell, J.B., Bhatnagar, S., Viau, V., & Bodnoff, S.R.  (1991). Early environmental regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis: The role of serotonin.  In T. Fujji (Ed.), Functional Neurobiology of Short Term Exposure to Drugs.  Teikyo University Press, pp. 55-72.

Meaney, M.J., Aitken D.H., Bhatnagar, S., Bodnoff, S.R., Mitchell, J.B., Viau, V. & Sarrieau, A. (1990). Neonatal handling and the development of the adrenocortical response to stress, In N. Gunzenhauser (Ed.) Advances in Touch: New Implication in Human Development.  Johnson & Johnson Pediatric Round Table Series, Vol. 14.  Skillman, NJ, pp. 1-21.

Posters and Presentations

Lectures by Invitation


Bhatnagar S. Development of paraventricular thalamic regulation of habituation to stress from adolescence to adulthood. Presented at: International Society for Psychoneuroendocrinology; 2017 Sep; Zurich, Switzerland.

Bhatnagar S. Orexins and resilience to stress. Presented at: Symposium at the International Behavioral Neuroscience Society; 2017 Jun; Hiroshima, Japan.


Bhatnagar S. Neural mechanisms and biomarkers of stress resilience. Presented at: Dept. of Psychology and Neuroscience, Temple University; 2015 Oct 19; Philadelphia, PA.

Bhatnagar S. Neural Mechanisms and biomarkers of stress resilience: sex and developmental influences. Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, CHOP/Penn School of Medicine; 2016 Oct 4; Philadelphia, PA.

Bhatnagar S. Resilience Redux. Symposium talk presented at: International Behavioral Neuroscience Society; 2016 Jun 17; Budapest, Hungary.

Bhatnagar S. Mechanisms of Resilience to Stress. Presented at: Dept. of Pharmacology, Physiology and Neuroscience, University of South Carolina School of Medicine; 2016 Mar 11.

Bhatnagar S. Orexin actions in the prefrontal cortex. Presented at: Winter Congress on Brain Research; 2016 Jan; Breckenridge, CO.

Editorial and Academic Positions

Editorial Positions

Editorial Review Board

2011-present, Stress: The International Journal on the Biology of Stress

2011-present, Developmental Psychobiology

2011-present, Physiology and Behavior

Ad hoc Reviewer




Journal of Comparative Neurology



Journal of Neuroendocrinology

Behavioral Brain Research

Cognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience

Brain Research

European Journal of Neuroscience

Developmental Psychobiology

Hormones and Behavior

Biological Psychiatry

American Journal of Physiology

Pharmacological Research

Institutional Committees

2016-2018, Member, Research Council, Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care,Children's Hospital of Philadelphia