Integrating his clinical work into his research an exciting prospect for new faculty member
Brenden Tervo-Clemmens, PhD, recently joined the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Division as part of the Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain (MIDB) team, and the Department faculty as an Assistant Professor. His primary focus will be on research; however, he will also have some clinical time.
Tervo-Clemmens earned his PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Pittsburgh and an MS in psychology from Villanova University. His undergraduate degree from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh is also in psychology.
While earning his PhD, Tervo-Clemmens completed a Graduate Certificate Program in Neuroscience at Carnegie Mellon University/University of Pittsburgh’s Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition. He then went to Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School for a year-long psychology internship and a postdoctoral fellowship. Throughout his education, Tervo-Clemmens received numerous awards and honors.
He was drawn to the U of M because of its top-tier research ranking. “Joining a team that’s trying to change the way we think about the developing brain and how it can give us insights into treating patients with psychiatric disorders drives my research and interest at U of M,” said Tervo-Clemmens (pictured here). “What distinguishes the U from other institutions is its collaborative spirit. This is where good work will happen.” He also emphasizes how essential trainees are in the work he does. “Not only do faculty members work together, but our learners contribute a lot,” he said.
Tervo-Clemmens’ research has been in several areas, including substance abuse, adolescent cannabis use, data-driven modeling and simulation, and neurocognitive development. “I focus on changes in the brain during childhood and adolescence and trying to understand which teenagers and young adults may end up with mental health disorders, particularly substance abuse disorders,” he explained. “I want to help develop treatments for young people and enable them and their families to better understand under what circumstances they might suffer.”
Because the majority of his time is spent doing research, Tervo-Clemmens wants to give back to that community. One way he does that is by serving on academic journal editorial boards. “The delicate ecosystem of science requires us to contribute to our peers and the field,” he said. “Being a guest editor is an extension of the idea of contributing to the larger endeavor of science. Without it, we run the risk of isolating ourselves from others. Science is most definitely a team sport.”
In addition to his research, Tervo-Clemmens will provide psychotherapy for adolescents and young adults with substance use disorders. “I’m a clinical psychologist and it’s important to me to provide that service to the population I study,” he said. “It’s exciting to be able to integrate how my research translates to helping my patients and their families and how my experience with patients influences the type of research questions I undertake.”
When he has spare time, Tervo-Clemmens is a rabid NBA fan and is excited to “adopt” the Timberwolves. “I’m also a cyclist and look forward to exploring the protected bike paths in the Twin Cities,” he said. “I chose my apartment based on a good bike commute to work.” He loves food and plans to eat his way through Eat Street and all over town.