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Research Opportunities

Immediate Openings

Validation of a short memory tool designed specifically for use during and after Electroconvulsive Therapy:  This study aims to validate a short and effective tool that can be widely used in clinical settings and is effective in assessing the specific domains compromised during and after ECT.  Click here to learn more.

National Network of Depression Centers Clinical Care Registry: This study aims to establish a long-term, prospective, observational, multi-center patient registry with naturalistic follow-up, collecting data in patients with mood disorders who are treated in routine clinical care and interested in participating in future studies.  Click here to learn more.

rTMS Trial:  Dr. McDonald and his research team are about to start a sham controlled trial of rTMS in patients prior to getting ECT, with data collection scheduled to begin around the first of the year.  This would be a good opportunity for a resident to participate in clinical research and learn how to use an rTMS machine.  Residents will be conducting clinical evaluations and administering treatments, probably working about 3-4 hours per day. The studies are not funded but do have research assistant support.  At least a 3-month commitment is required. If interested, please contact Dr. McDonald directly at

Faculty Mentor Research

The following provides a list of potential faculty members who may serve as research mentors to residents interested in pursuing research opportunities:

  • Gary J. Bassell, PhD: molecular mechanisms of disease, glutamate synapse function, Neuronal localization of mRNA, mechanisms of fragile x syndrome
  • Greg S. Berns, MD, PhD: neuroimaging of human mental function, neurobiology of mental processing, Mechanisms of appetitive and aversive emotional processing
  • Elisabeth B. Binder, MD, PhD: pathophysiology of affective disorders, genetic mechanisms of stress-response, Gene x environment interactions in psychiatry, pharmacogenomic mechanisms
  • Bekh Bradley, PhD: pathophysiology of trauma-related disorders, pathophysiology of personality disorders, effects of developmental and adult trauma on psychopathology treatment of personality disorders and PTSD
  • J. Douglas Bremner, MD: neuroimaging – pet and fMRI, Neural correlates of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, pathophysiology of stress-related disorders, cognitive functioning in affective and anxiety disorders
  • Patricia Brennan, PhD: biopsychosocial mechanisms of risk of externalizing disorders in children and adolescents, prenatal risk factors in the development of psychopathology
  • Marianne Celano, PhDhealth services research, pediatric asthma, child maltreatment
  • Claire Coles, PhD: behavioral teratology of alcohol and drug exposures, novel intervention strategies for fetal alcohol syndrome
  • W. Edward Craighead, M.D., PhD: etiology and treatment of mood and anxiety disorders in adolescents, prevention of first episode of depression and other mood disorders
  • Joseph F. Cubells, MD, PhD: pathophysiology of psychiatric disorders, genetics of common psychiatric disorders, genetics of dopamine beta-hydroxylase pathway and noradrenergic function, gene x environment interactions
  • Benjamin G. Druss, MD, MPH: pathophysiology and epidemiology of schizophrenia and severe mental illness, healthcare delivery and utilization, community psychiatry research, medicine-based evidence in mental health
  • Boadie W. Dunlop, MD: pathophysiology and treatment of mood and anxiety disorders, novel pharmacological treatments for anxiety
  • Negar Fani, PhD: uses neuropsychological, affective neuroscience, fMRI and DTI methods to examine cognitive and emotional alterations in individuals with varying PTSD symptoms; aims to create a brain-behavior-based classification system to facilitate tailored treatments
  • Steven J. Garlow, MD, PhD: pathophysiology of mood and anxiety disorders, pathophysiology of suicidal behavior, mouse genetic models of mood and anxiety, Molecular biology approaches to psychiatry
  • Charles F. Gillespie (Rickey), MD, PhD: pathophysiology of stress related disorders, genetics of psychiatric disorders, interaction of medical and psychiatric disorders
  • Shannon L. Gourley, PhD: physiology of appetitive / addictive behavior, molecular approaches to prefrontal and orbitofrontal cortex function, molecular / cellular mechanisms of synaptic plasticity and drug addiction
  • Robert E. Gross, MD, PhD: restorative approaches (including cell and gene therapy) for neurodegenerative disorders, physiology of movement disorders (Parkinson's disease, tremor, dystonia), role of axon guidance molecules in the development and reconstruction of the nigrostriatal pathway
  • Adriana Hermida, MD: novel intervention approaches for treatment resistant depression including efficacy of ECT and associated changes in cognition and memory
  • Carol J. Hogue, PhD: maternal/health, healthcare delivery and utilization, community psychiatry research
  • Leonard Howell, PhD: non-human primate models of addiction, pathophysiology of substance addiction, neuroimaging with fMRI, neural correlates of substance addiction
  • Andrew Jenkins, PhD: molecular mechanisms of disease, GABAergic synapse function, GABA subunit regulation, mechanisms of anesthetic function
  • Katrina C. Johnson, PhD:  etiological mechanisms in the intergenerational transmission of mood and anxiety disorders, effects of peripartum mood disorders and their treatment on offspring brain development
  • Tanja Jovanovic, PhD: physiological mechanisms of fear and anxiety in humans; interactions between PTSD, depression, and the HPA axis; maternal-child interactions and intergenerational transmission of trauma risk
  • Nadine J. Kaslow, PhD: pathophysiology of trauma-related disorders and depression; intimate partner violence and mental health symptoms, pathophysiology of suicidal behavior
  • Ami Klin, PhD:  mechanisms of autism spectrum disorder, using visual scanning approaches in infants to detect biomarkers of autism spectrum disorders, attention regulation in autism spectrum disorders
  • James J. Lah, MD, PhD: pathophysiology of neurodegenerative diseases, mechanisms and treatment of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Allan I. Levey, MD, PhD: pathophysiology of neurodegenerative diseases, mechanisms and treatment of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, molecular mechanisms of neurodegeneration
  • Helen S. Mayberg, MD: neuroimaging of emotional states, pathophysiology of affective disorders, deep-brain stimulation for treatment of depression, neural circuitry mediating depression and sadness
  • William McDonald, MD: pathophysiology and treatment of affective disorders, mechanism and efficacy of transcranial magnetic stimulation, treatment of geriatric depression, mechanisms and efficacy of ECT for depression
  • Carolyn C. Meltzer, MD: evaluation of the brain’s structure-function relationships in normal aging, brain imaging in late-life depression, brain imaging in Alzheimer’s disease
  • Andrew H. Miller, MD: research interests in immunology, neuroendocrinology, behavioral medicine, psychiatric oncology and mood and anxiety disorders
  • Gretchen Neigh, PhD: physiology of stress, cardiovascular mechanisms of depression, development of stress sensitization, sex-dependent differences and stress response
  • Michael J. Owens, PhD: molecular pharmacology of psychiatric disorders, animal models of psychiatric disorders, role of stress in mood, anxiety and psychotic disorders
  • Donald G. Rainnie, PhD: pathophysiology of stress-related affective disorders, electrophysiology of amygdala and emotional systems, mechanisms of serotonergic function
  • Mark H. Rapaport, MD:  pathophysiology of affective and psychotic disorders, brain-body interactions in mediating depression, complementary and alternative approaches to psychiatric disorders
  • Kerry Ressler, MD, PhD: genetic models of fear/anxiety, genetic and psychological risk for PTSD gene x environment interactions, emotional learning and memory
  • Barbara O. Rothbaum, PhD: pathophysiology and treatment of anxiety disorders including PTSD, virtual reality exposure therapy
  • Mar M. Sanchez, PhD: pathophysiology of affective disorders, primate models of stress-related disorders, developmental risk factors for depression, hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal axis regulation
  • Ann Schwartz, MD: psychosomatic medicine, education and professionalisms in medical training
  • Alicia K. Smith, PhD: genetic and psychological risk for psychiatric disorders, gene x environment interactions, epigenetic approaches to psychiatric disorders
  • Elaine F. Walker, PhD: pathophysiology of schizophrenia, community psychiatry, epidemiology of severe mental illness
  • Stephen Warren, PhD: genetics of intellectual disability, including Fragile X syndrome, therapeutic approaches using mGluR antagonists for intellectual disability.  Discovery of gene variants influencing schizophrenia and/or psychosis susceptibility in 22q Deletion Syndrome by whole genome sequencing
  • David Weinshenker, PhD: physiology of noradrenergic nervous system, genetic molecular approaches of psychiatric disorders, animal models of mental illness
  • Drew Westen, PhD: pathophysiology of personality disorders, effects of developmental and adult trauma on psychopathology, diagnosis and treatment of personality and affective disorders
  • Mark E. Wilson, PhD: physiology of sex-related endocrine system, pathophysiology of affective disorders, primate models of stress-related disorders, endocrine medication of mental illness
  • Larry J. Young, PhD: molecular and neural mechanisms of affiliation and pair bonding, molecular biology of the oxytocin and vasopressin systems physiology of sex-related endocrine system, animal models of mental illness
  • Stuart M. Zola, PhD: primate models of mental illness, neurobiology of learning and memory, physiology of hippocampus and mammalian memory systems