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NIH Distinguished Investigator


Carlos A. Zarate, M.D. is Chief, Section on the Neurobiology and Treatment of Mood Disorders and Chief of Experimental Therapeutics and Pathophysiology Branch (ETPB) at the National Institute of Mental Health, and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, at The George Washington University.

Dr. Zarate completed a Fellowship in Clinical Psychopharmacology at McLean Hospital from 1992-1993, after which he remained as a staff member until 1998. At the McLean Hospital Consolidated Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Dr. Zarate was the Director of the Bipolar and Psychotic Disorders Outpatient Services, Chair of the Pharmacy and Therapeutic Committee, and Director of the New and Experimental Clinic. From 1998 to 2000, Dr. Zarate was the Chief of the Bipolar and Psychotic Disorders Program, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, and Chair of the Grand Rounds Committee at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. In January 2001, he joined the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program at the NIMH as Chief of the Mood Disorders Research Unit. In 2009, Dr. Zarate formed the Experimental Therapeutics and Pathophysiology Branch at the NIMH.

His achievements and awards include the Ethel-DuPont Warren Award and Livingston Awards, Consolidated Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, 1993-1994; NIH-NIMH Travel Award, 1994; American College of Neuropsychopharmacology Travel Awards, 1994 and 1995; Program for Minority Research Training in Psychiatry, American Psychiatric Association, 1996; the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression Young Investigator Award, 1996-1998; Outstanding Psychiatrist Research Award, Massachusetts Psychiatric Association, 1997; the Diversity and Advocacy Award, Hispanic Research Initiative Committee, NIMH, 2002; the Mentor of the Year, Intramural Research Program, NIMH, 2004; the Supervisor of the Year, NIMH,2005; the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression Independent Investigator Award, 2005; the NIH Director’s Award-Scientific/Medical, 2007; NIMH Directors Award, 2009; and, the Brain Behavior Research Foundation Award for Bipolar Mood Disorder Research (NARSAD), 2011

Research Interests

Dr. Zarate’s current research focus is on developing novel medications for treatment-resistant depression and bipolar disorder.  His areas of expertise include biological and pharmacological aspects of mood disorders in adults.  Dr. Zarate’s group conducts proof-of-concept studies utilizing novel compounds and biomarkers (magnetoencephalography [MEG] and polysomnography [PSG], positron emission tomography [PET], functional magnetic resonance imaging [fMRI] and magnetic resonance spectroscopy [MRS]) to identify potentially relevant drug targets and biosignatures of treatment response.  A multidisciplinary translational research team conducts the research in the ETPB. In addition, the Branch provides training to develop the next generation of clinical translational researchers.

See Dr. Zarate's current clinical research studies here.

Selected Publications

A Randomized Trial of a Low-Trapping Nonselective N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Channel Blocker in Major Depression. Zarate CA Jr, Mathews D, Ibrahim L, Chaves JF, Marquardt C, Ukoh I, Jolkovsky L, Brutsche NE, Smith MA, Luckenbaugh DA. Biol Psychiatry. 2012 Nov 30. pii: S0006-3223(12)00941-9. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2012.10.019. PMID: 23206319.

Rapid Resolution of Suicidal Ideation after a Single Infusion of an NMDA Antagonist in Patients with Treatment-Resistant Major Depressive Disorder. Nancy DiazGranados, MD, MS, Lobna Ibrahim, MD, Nancy Brutsche, MSN, Rezvan Ameli, PhD, Ioline D Henter, MA, David A Luckenbaugh, MA, Rodrigo Machado-Vieira, MD, PhD, and Carlos A Zarate, Jr, MD. J Clin Psychiatry. 2010 December; 71(12): 1605–1611. PMID: 20673547.

A randomized add-on trial of an N-methyl-D-aspartate antagonist in treatment-resistant bipolar depression. Diazgranados N, Ibrahim L, Brutsche NE, Newberg A, Kronstein P, Khalife S, Kammerer WA, Quezado Z, Luckenbaugh DA, Salvadore G, Machado-Vieira R, Manji HK, Zarate CA Jr. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2010 Aug;67(8):793-802. doi: 10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2010.90. PMID: 20679587.

Increased anterior cingulate cortical activity in response to fearful faces: a neurophysiological biomarker that predicts rapid antidepressant response to ketamine. Salvadore G, Cornwell BR, Colon-Rosario V, Coppola R, Grillon C, Zarate CA Jr, Manji HK. Biol Psychiatry. 2009 Feb 15;65(4):289-95. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2008.08.014. Epub 2008 Sep 25. PMID: 18822408.

A randomized trial of an N-methyl-D-aspartate antagonist in treatment-resistant major depression. Zarate CA Jr, Singh JB, Carlson PJ, Brutsche NE, Ameli R, Luckenbaugh DA, Charney DS, Manji HK. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2006 Aug;63(8):856-64. PMID: 16894061.

Hatfield Clinical Research Center, Room 7-5342, MSC 1282

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