Lorenzo Lorenzo-Luaces

Lorenzo Lorenzo-Luaces

Associate Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences

Associate Chair for Research and Facilities

**Not accepting graduate students for Fall, 2024**


  • Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2017
  • M.A., University of Pennsylvania, 2012
  • B.A., University of Puerto Rico, 2011

Areas of Study

  • Clinical Science

Research Topics

  • Heterogeneity of depression and its implications for treatment
  • Low intensity treatments (e.g., bibliotherapy, internet applications)
  • Stepped care and personalized medicine for depression
  • Change processes in psychotherapy (e.g., cognitive change, working alliance)
  • History and classification of major depressive disorder

Research Summary

I am broadly interested in the treatment and phenomenology of depression and other internalizing disorders like generalized anxiety, including their classification and differentiation from negative moods that are not impairing or distressing. My research has focused on the outcomes and processes of change in depression treatments, especially cognitive-behavioral therapies (CBTs). An overarching theme informing my work is that the level of heterogeneity in the clinical presentation (e.g., symptoms) and in the prognosis of internalizing disorders needs to be considered when studying etiology and treatments.

My colleagues and I have identified, combined, and used patient-level variables to select what treatments would be optimal for a given patient. I am especially interested in using data to guide individuals to the most appropriate care level for them. While many individuals need more intensive treatments than what we usually deliver, many can experience benefits from low-intensity treatments like brief therapies or CBT self-help offered via bibliotherapy (i.e., books) or internet-based CBT (i.e., iCBT). In 2020, I was awarded the Global Mental Health Fellowship to work with the World Health Organization (WHO). As part of the fellowship, my lab has recruited individuals from all over the United States for an ongoing study of the feasibility and mechanisms of transdiagnostic CBT bibliotherapy for internalizing disorder symptoms.

Another line of my research focuses on the study of psychotherapy processes (i.e., how psychotherapy works), with a focus on the roles of the working alliance and cognitive change. Here we have also found evidence that individual differences need to be considered to understand process-outcome correlations fully. For example, in one study, we found that the therapeutic relationship in CBT for depression was a strong predictor of outcomes for patients with less recurrent depression but was unrelated to outcomes in more recurrent depression. We replicated these findings in another sample of patients undergoing CBT but found no effect of recurrence in psychodynamic therapy. Studies like this suggest that to understand how psychotherapy works, we need to consider the interaction of patient features with common and specific therapy factors.

In collaboration with Johan Bollen at the Luddy School of Informatics, a more recent line of my work involves using data gathered from social media (e.g., posts, friendship networks) and meta-data (e.g., time of year of posts) to characterize vulnerability to internalizing disorder symptoms. We have conducted a two-cohort study called the Survey Online Cohorts for Internalizing symptoms, Affect, and Language (SOCIAL) Study (N=2,640) with which we can triangulate self-reported internalizing disorder symptoms as well as symptoms of externalizing and somatoform disorders with data obtained from individuals’ social media accounts. In addition to this study, I was recently awarded a KL2 through the Indiana CTSI. The aim of that study is to explore the combination of social media data that can be analyzed with natural language processing to self-reported data (e.g., demographics, symptoms) to predict engagement and outcomes in transdiagnostic low-intensity CBT.

In terms of graduate admissions, I do not factor in GRE score. I will likely not be accepting students for Fall 2022.