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ETPB primary image Experimental Therapeutics & Pathophysiology Branch


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


Elspeth Dwyer, CRNP  
Psychiatry, Nursing

Emily Page RN, FNP-BC  
Psychiatry, Nursing

Yumi Yi, CRNP  
Psychiatry, Nursing

Post-Doctoral Fellows

Mina Kheirkhah, PhD  
Electrophysiology, Neuroimaging, Computational Psychiatry

Vasileia Kotoula, PhD  
Neuroimaging, Sleep

Steven Lamontagne, PhD  
Electrophysiology, Suicide

Yoojin Lee, PhD  
Neuroimaging, Suicide

Mani Yavi, MD  


Solaleh Azimipour, MS, Contractor  

Timothy Barton  
Software Development

Charles R. Bender  

Courtney Burton, PhD, Contractor  
Neuroscience, Neuroimaging

Yamila Carmona, MA, Contractor  

Diane Dillard, LICSW  
Social Work, Psychiatry

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

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

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

Alex Noury, M.A.          

Yemisi Olurebi, MS, Contractor  
Regulatory, Data Management

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

Peixiong Yuan, PhD  
Molecular Biology

Post-Baccalaureate Fellows

William Cole, BS  
Computational Neuroscience

Sara Johnson, BS  

Lucinda Neely, BA  

Roshni Nischal, BS  
Psychology, Cognitive Neuroscience

Claire Punturieri, BA  

Alaina Tillman, BS, BA  
Neuroscience, Sociology

Abby Vogeley, BA  
Biology, Psychology

Paloma Zabala, BA  

Noninvasive Neuromodulation Unit (NNU)