Research and Grants

Providing experts in the field of BFRBs opportunities to advance therapeutic and pharmacological treatment interventions is an important component of TLC’s purpose - inspiring hope, empowering healing, stronger together.

Thanks to the generosity of TLC donors, BPM research team, and TLC's Scientific Advisory Board, significant progress has been made over the past seven years to better understand the neurobiology of BFRBs.

Current research funding is focused specifically on completion of the BPM Initiative.

hands crafting a butterfly from pipe cleaners and beads
BPM - Pioneering Research, Personalized Treatment

When TLC began more than 30 years ago the idea of having personalized treatment interventions for BFRBs was not even a consideration. Fast forward to 2022 – the BPM researcher team has not only identified five distinct hair pulling and skin picking subtypes –this pioneering research is nearing the final data analysis stage before crafting clinical hypotheses designed to test and tailor personalized treatment interventions, including behavioral and pharmacological.

BPM Research brain scan illustration

Brain scan images of research participants suggest differences in the brain regions associated with habit formation in subjects with hair pulling and skin picking diagnoses compared to control subjects.

Hair Pulling Subtypes

Sensory sensitive pullers - highly focused pulling, scores high on measures of sensory sensitivity.

Low awareness pullers - the most common subtype – more automatic pulling due to emotional triggers.

Impulsive perfectionist pullers - present with the most unique characteristics of the three hair pulling subtypes - pull to control unpleasant feelings, score high on measures of perfectionism and very high on measures of overall impulsivity.

Skin Picking Subtypes

Emotional/reward pickers - the most common subtype and majority of skin pickers – strong and frequent 5 urges to pick with minimal control over picking – pick to cope with negative emotions, more likely to have ADHD, and report high levels of perfectionism.

Functional pickers - fairly mild picking – present with poor distress tolerance and problems with sensory sensitivity

Early Career Grants

TLC's Early Career Research Grant Award program supports the work of outstanding scientists early in their careers. Grant recipients receive funding for their work along with invaluable mentorship from TLC's esteemed Scientific Advisory Board.

TLC’s Early Career Research Grant Award program is scheduled to resume at the completion of the BPMI project.

Past Award Recipients
Courtney Taylor Browne Luka
Dr. Christina Gallinat

Dr. Hannah Garza
Research Grant Opportunities
TLC funds targeted research that leads to breakthroughs in the treatment of body-focused repetitive behaviors. All open research grant opportunities are listed on this page. Please check regularly for RFPs.
There are no open research grant RFPs at this time.