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ETPB primary image Experimental Therapeutics & Pathophysiology Branch

Meet the Team

Dr. Carlos Zarate
Dr. Carlos A. Zarate, Jr., MD
Chief, Experimental
Therapeutics and
Pathophysiology Branch

Dr. Carlos A. Zarate, Jr., M.D., is an NIH Distinguished Investigator and Chief of the Experimental Therapeutics and Pathophysiology Branch. He earned his medical degree from the Catholic University of Cordoba in Argentina. He completed a clinical psychopharmacology fellowship at McLean Hospital in 1993 and remained on staff until 1998. In 1998, Dr. Zarate joined the faculty at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. In 2001, Dr. Zarate joined the Mood and Anxiety Disorders program at the NIMH and, in 2009, formed the Experimental Therapeutics and Pathophysiology Branch (ETPB). A multidisciplinary translational research team conducts the research in the ETPB. The Branch also provides training to develop the next generation of clinical translational researchers.

Research Interests

Dr. Zarate's current research focus is on the neurobiology of severe mood disorders and developing novel medications for treatment-resistant depression, bipolar disorder, and suicide. His areas of expertise include biological and pharmacological aspects of mood disorders in adults. The ETPB conducts neurobiological and proof-of-concept studies utilizing novel compounds and biomarkers (magnetoencephalography and polysomnography, positron emission tomography, functional MRI and magnetic resonance spectroscopy) to identify potentially relevant mechanisms, drug targets and biosignatures of treatment response. Dr. Zarate has published more than 430 papers on these topics.

Honors & Awards

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; Young Investigator Bipolar Disorder Andrew P. Merrill Memorial Fund 1995-1997; Outstanding Psychiatrist Research Award, Massachusetts Psychiatric Association, 1997; Honorable Mention APA/SmithKline Beecham Young Faculty Award, 1999; the Diversity and Advocacy Award, Hispanic Research Initiative Committee, NIMH, 2002; Clinical Center Director’s Award/National Institutes of Health: Quality of Work life/Diversity, 2002; Clinical Teacher of Honor, National Institutes of Health, 2004; 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; the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation Award for Bipolar Mood Disorder Research (NARSAD), 2011; Mogens Schou Research Award: Bipolar Disorder, International Society for Bipolar Disorder, 2013; Top 10 Major Discoveries by NARSAD Grantees, Next Generation Therapies: Bipolar Disorder, Fast-Acting Antidepressants, 2014; Ruth L. Kirschstein Mentoring Award NIH, 2015; Astute Clinical Lecture Award, Clinical Center NIH, 2015; APF Simon Bolivar Award American Psychiatric Association, 2015; Top 10 Advancements & Breakthroughs, Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (NARSAD), Next-Generation Treatments: Suicide, Depression, 2016; Frank O. Shobe Lecture Grand Rounds, Washington University in St. Louis, 2016; William and Helen Guynn Lectureship, Dept of Psychiatry Grand Rounds, UTHealth McGovern Medical School, Houston Texas, 2018; National Institute of Mental Health Director’s Outstanding Mentor Award, 2018; NIH Distinguished Investigator, 2019; Dolores Shockley Minority Mentoring Award, ACNP, 2019; Member, National Academy of Medicine, 2020; Wagner-Jauregg Medal (ÖGPB) of the Austrian Society of Neuropsychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 2020; Gerald L. Klerman Senior Investigator Award, 2021; George Heninger Lecture, Grand Rounds, Yale University, 2022; Distinguished Scientist Lecture, University of Pittsburgh Dept. of Psychiatry, 2022; and “How Science Has Offered Hope for Treatment-Resistant Depression”, White House virtual conversations to highlight promising areas of current research, 2022.

At its annual meeting for 2020, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM)  announced the election of 90 regular members, including the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)’s Carlos Zarate Jr., M.D. One of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine, election to the Academy recognizes outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service.

Carlos Zarate, Jr., M.D was honored with the title of NIH Distinguished Investigator.  This title is reserved for NIH’s most preeminent Senior Investigators and requires a special peer review and approval by the NIH Director.

Carlos Zarate, Jr., M.D is past President of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) and to Council of the International College of Neuropsychopharmacology (CINP).


Elizabeth Ballard, Ph.D. – Associate Scientist, Director, Psychology and Behavior Research and Director of Predoctoral Training in the Experimental Therapeutics and Pathophysiology Branch

Jennifer Evans, Ph.D. - Staff Scientist, Director of MRI Research in the Experimental Therapeutics and Pathophysiology Branch

Jessica Gilbert, Ph.D.– Staff Scientist, Director of MEG Research in the Experimental Therapeutics and Pathophysiology Branch

Mark Kvarta, M.D., Ph.D. – Staff Clinician, Director, Outpatient Mood Disorders Clinic and Chief of Stress Pathophysiology in the Experimental Therapeutics and Pathophysiology Branch


Solaleh Azimipour, MS, Contractor

Timothy Barton
Software Development

Charles R. Bender

Yamila Carmona, MA, Contractor

Carlos R. Cortes, M.D., Ph.D.

Diane Dillard, LICSW
Social Work, Psychiatry

Wallace Duncan, Ph.D.
Neuroscience, Sleep, Circadian Biology

Lauren Durland, LCSW-C, Contractor
Social Work, Mental Health

Elspeth Dwyer, CRNP
Psychiatry, Nursing

Brady Greene, BS
Medical Student, Special Volunteer

Deanna K Greenstein, PhD
Biostatistics, Psychology

Tina Harris
Clinical Operations

Nadia Hejazi, MD
Neurology, Circadian Biology

Kelly Hurst, PhD, Contractor

Adilah M. Kirton BSN, RN-BC, Contractor
Mental Health

Jerry McGuire, RN

Alex Noury, M.A.

Yemisi Olurebi, MS, Contractor
Regulatory, Data Management

Emily Page RN, FNP-BC
Psychiatry, Nursing

Shiyong Peng, PhD
Molecular Biology

Martiz Peterson
Administrative Management

Karna Robinson, MPH
Database Management

Maureen Tobin, BA

Laura Waldman, LCSW
Social Work, Mental Health

Audrey Weinberg
Statistician, Data Management

Yumi Yi, CRNP
Psychiatry, Nursing

Peixiong Yuan, PhD
Molecular Biology

Post-Doctoral Fellows

Adam Fijtman, MD, PhD

Hiroe Imai Hu, DO

Greg Jones, MD

Jenessa Johnston, PhD
Stem Cell Modeling, Molecular Biology

Mina Kheirkhah, PhD
Electrophysiology, Neuroimaging, Computational Psychiatry

Steven Lamontagne, PhD
Electrophysiology, Suicide

Yoojin Lee, PhD
Neuroimaging, Suicide

Nefize Yalin MD, PhD, MRCPsych
Bipolar Disorders, Neuroimaging

Mani Yavi, MD
Psychiatry - Special Volunteer

Post-Baccalaureate Fellows

Halla Hafermann, BA

Lucinda Neely, BA

Carlos Rodriguez, BA

Taliah Soleymani, BA
Biology, Neuroscience

Alaina Tillman, BS, BA
Neuroscience, Sociology

Ewurakua Winful, BS

Amy Xu, BS
Psychology, Neuroscience

Noninvasive Neuromodulation Unit (NNU)