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Transforming the understanding
and treatment of mental illnesses.

ETPB primary image Experimental Therapeutics & Pathophysiology Branch

Staff

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.

Awards & Honors

His achievements and awards include the Ethel-DuPont Warren Award and Livingston Awards, Consolidated Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; Outstanding Psychiatrist Research Award, Massachusetts Psychiatric Association; Program for Minority Research Training in Psychiatry, APA; the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression Young Investigator Award; National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression Independent Investigator Award; the National Institutes of Health Director’s Award Scientific/Medical, the 2011 Brain & Behavior Research Foundation Award for Bipolar Mood Disorder Research, the 2013 National Institute of Health Director’s Award—Scientific/Medical Achievement and Mogens Schou Research Award: Bipolar Disorder and the Simon-Bolivar Award American Psychiatric Association; 2015 Ruth L. Kirschtein Mentoring Award NIH and the Astute Clinician Lecture Award, NIH; 2020 the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) Dolores Shockley Minority Mentorship Award.

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 was elected President of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) and to Council of the International College of Neuropsychopharmacology (CINP).

Senior Investigators

Lawrence Park, M.D.
Clinical Trials, Neuromodulation, Psychiatry

Dr. Park received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Master’s Degree in Human Development at the University of Chicago and M.D. from the University of Wisconsin Medical School. He completed an adult psychiatry residency at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)/McLean Hospital, and post-doctoral fellowship at the Department of Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School. In 2000, he joined the faculty of MGH and served as the medical director of the Acute Psychiatry Service, medical director of the Inpatient Psychiatry Service, associate director of the Somatic Therapies Service, and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. In 2009, he joined the Center for Devices and Radiological Health at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. While at the FDA, he was involved in the regulation of Electroconvulsive Therapy, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, Deep Brain Stimulation and other technology-based applications in neurology and psychiatry. He joined the Experimental Therapeutics and Pathophysiology Branch at NIMH in 2014 and currently serves as medical director of the Clinical Research Unit.  His awards include the Bernice Neugarten Research Award at the University of Chicago, Livingston Award at Harvard Medical School, and recognition as Outstanding Scientist at the FDA. Dr. Park’s research interests aim to leverage technology to develop innovative treatments for mood disorders.

Elizabeth Ballard, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychology, Suicide Prevention

Dr. Elizabeth Ballard is the Director of Psychology and Behavior Research and the Director of Predoctoral Training at the Experimental Therapeutics and Pathophysiology Branch in the National Institute of Mental Health. She is trained as a clinical psychologist and has extensive clinical experience working with suicidal individuals. She completed her PhD at the Catholic University of America and her clinical internship in the VA Eastern Colorado Healthcare System. After a postdoctoral fellowship at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, she came to the NIMH to spearhead research on the neurobiology of suicide. She is Lead Associate Investigator on the Neurobiology of Suicide Protocol in the Intramural Program of the NIMH. Her research interests include short term risk factors for suicide and rapid acting treatments for suicidal thoughts. She has recently published several articles on clinical and neural correlates of suicidal thoughts in response to ketamine, which is being studied as a potential antisuicidal treatment.

Jennifer Evans, Ph.D.
Psychology, Neuroscience, and Neuroimaging

Dr. Jennifer Evans is a Staff Scientist in the Section on the Neurobiology and Treatment of Mood Disorders.  She directs the magnetic resonance imaging research in the Section. She completed her PhD in pediatric neuroimaging methods at the University of Toronto, Canada and is interested in applying imaging methods, particularly functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), to clinical questions.  Her current research is focused on determining markers of the fMRI response to ketamine administration in participants with major depression and healthy controls.  She is interested in developing these markers to ultimately enable more effective treatment of mood disorders.

Jessica Gilbert, Ph.D.
Neuroimaging, Computational Psychiatry

Dr. Jessica Gilbert is the Director of MEG Research at the Experimental Therapeutics and Pathophysiology Branch in the National Institute of Mental Health. She completed her PhD at Aston University in Birmingham, UK. After postdoctoral fellowships at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders and the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, she came to the NIMH to continue her work using electrophysiological methods to examine the neurobiology of psychiatric conditions. Her research explores how depression and risk for suicide lead to changes in brain network connectivity. She uses computational methods to model brain dynamics in order to better characterize the neurobiology of depression and suicide risk. She is also interested in modeling network-level brain changes associated with ketamine and other rapid-acting antidepressants.

Nursing

Elspeth Dwyer, CRNP
Psychiatry, Nursing

Lorie Shora, RN, MSN, FNP
Psychiatry, Nursing

Yumi Yi, CRNP
Psychiatry, Nursing

Post-Doctoral Fellows

Bartholt Bloomfield-Clagett, MD
Psychiatry

Mina Kheirkhah, PhD
Electrophysiology, Neuroimaging, Computational Psychiatry

Vasileia Kotoula, PhD
Neuroimaging, Sleep

Mani Yavi, MD
Psychiatry

Unit on Non-Invasive Neuromodulation (NNU)

Sarah H. Lisanby, MD
Chief, Unit on Non-Invasive Neuromodulation (NNU)
Director, Division of Translational Research

Lysianne Beynel, PhD
Research Fellow

Zhi-de Deng, PhD
Neurostimulation, Neuroscience, Electrophysiology

Sunday Francis, PhD
Neuroscience

Eudora Jones, PMHNP-BC
Psychiatry, Nursing

Bruce Luber, PhD
Psychology, Neuroscience

Lindsay M. Oberman, PhD
Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

William T. Regenold, MDCM
Medical Director, Noninvasive Neuromodulation Unit

Staff

Elisabeth, Andersen, PhD
Biostatistician

Solaleh Azimipour, MS, Contractor
Psychology

Timothy Barton
Senior Software Developer

Charles R. Bender
Biology

Courtney Burton, PhD, Contractor
Neuroscience, Neuroimaging

Yamila Carmona, MA, Contractor
Clinical Psychology Research

Diane Dillard, LICSW
Social Work, Psychiatry

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

Cristan Farmer, PhD
Statistics, Psychometrics, Clinical Trials Methodology

Peter Gochman, MA
Neuropsychiatry, Neurobiology

Deanna K Greenstein, PhD
Biostatistics, Psychology

Tina Harris
Clinical Operations

Nadia Hejazi, MD
Neurology, Circadian Biology

Kelly Hurst, PhD, Contractor
Psychology

Tarun Hutchinson, PhD, Contractor
Biology, Sleep

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

Alex Noury, M.A.
Protocol Coordinator, Regulatory

Yemisi Olurebi, MS, Contractor
Regulatory, Data Management

Martiz Peterson
Administrative Branch Manager

Karna Robinson, MPH
Database management

Maureen Tobin, BA
Psychology

Laura Waldman, LCSW
Social Work, Mental Health

Audrey Weinberg
Statistician, Data Management

Peixiong Yuan, PhD
Molecular Biology

Post-Baccalaureate Fellows

Cristina Abboud Chalhoub, BS
Neuroscience

Grace Anderson, BA
Psychology

Darcy Campbell, BA
Psychology

Elyssa Feuer, BA
Biochemistry

Nadia Mustafa, BS
Biology

Claire Punturieri, BA
Psychology

Kanique Thomas, BA
Psychology minor in Biology