Principal Investigator

Anne Richards, M.D., M.P.H.

Principal Investigator

Welcome to the Richards Lab! I am a PTSD, stress and sleep researcher at UCSF and the San Francisco VA Health Care System (SFVAHCS).  I am Clinical Professor at the UCSF School of Medicine, in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences.  I am a Staff Psychiatrist in the PTSD program at the SFVAHCS.


I have developed expertise in the treatment of PTSD and sleep disorders through over 15 years of experience treating male and female veterans with PTSD using medication and psychotherapy.  In 2015, I transitioned from a predominantly clinical role to a research role with the support of a VA research Career Development Award focused on understanding mechanisms through which abnormal sleep physiology contributes to PTSD. I now conduct both clinical and translational research, with the overall goal of translating findings from my laboratory experiments to advances in clinical treatment for patients with PTSD and other sequelae of stress and trauma.   


My federally-funded clinical research currently focuses on nightmare treatment and on understanding the sleep physiology underlying trauma nightmares.  Nightmares that manifest in the form of a recurrent, sleep-dependent replay of trauma memories are a fascinating phenomenon with serious clinical implications; these motivate my interest in understanding the neural processes involved in the consolidation of stressful memories and their replay during sleep, and my interest in developing targeted treatments to eliminate nightmares. 


Nightmares are part of a complex picture of sleep disturbance in PTSD.  My extensive work with patients, and my experience practicing and teaching a variety of sleep treatments, inform my efforts to develop and test new and improved treatments for the complex sleep disturbances of PTSD more broadly.  

I and my team aspire to continue both lab-based research, to better understand the role of sleep in emotional memory processing, emotional memory consolidation and stress responses more generally, and to continue clinical research to advance psychotherapy, pharmacotherapy and other novel strategies to improve clinical outcomes and psychosocial rehabilitation in veterans and non-veterans with PTSD. I have served as a PI on UCSF, DoD, and VA-funded research on sleep, stress and PTSD.  I collaborate with numerous UCSF and VA colleagues on federally-funded and other research.