Ralph Edward Hoffman MD

Professor of Psychiatry and Clinical Professor of Nursing; Medical Director, Intensive Outpatient Program at Yale-New Haven Psychiatric Hospital

Biographical Info

Dr. Hoffman currently is medical director of the adult intensive outpatient treatment program at Yale-New Haven Psychiatric Hospital and oversees a research program whose focus is to ascertain brain mechanisms that produce psychosis in schizophrenia. His undergraduate studies were in mathematics and theory of computation. Using this background, he was among the first researchers to rigorously apply computer models of neural networks to study neurobiological processes underlying schizophrenia. He was also the first researcher to undertake a clinical trial using repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) as an experimental intervention for auditory hallucinations. He recently completed: (i) a study of hyperconnected network producing auditory hallucinations (in collaboration with Dr. Michelle Hampson, Department of Diagnostic Radiology at Yale), and (ii) a neural network modeling study of language disorder and delusions in schizophrenia in collaboration with Prof. Risto Miikkulainen (Department of Computer Science, University of Texas, Austin). The latter study has identified a new pathophysiological mechanism for psychosis, namely overly rapid cortical consolidation that causes intermingling and corruption of emotionally-charged autobiographical and culturally based narrative memories. Finally, Dr. Hoffman has identified social withdrawal as an important risk factor leading to development of schizophrenia, and is investigating the implications of this finding in terms of the neurobiological mechanism of delusions and language disorganization. His current studies include:

  • clinical trials studying efficacy of rTMS in curtailing auditory hallucinations using structural MRI for positioning the stimulation coil;
  • characterizing rate consolidation of narrative memories into cortical structures in patients with schizophrenia and healthy controls;
  • identifying hyperconnected cortical/subcortical networks that "lock into" psychotic representations in patients with mental illness.


Education & Training

B.S.
Brown University (1971)
M.D.
Albert Einstein College of Medicine (1976)
Resident
Mount Sinai Medical Center, Psychiatry 
Resident
Mount Sinai School of Medicine of the City University of New York, Psychiatry 
Fellow
Yale Psychiatric Institute
Board Certification
Psychiatry, Board Certified  (1981)

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