Irina Esterlis, PhD

Assistant Professor of Psychiatry; Director, Molecular Imaging Program, NCPTSD, VA; Director, Mood, Anxiety, and Cognitive Sciences Division

Research Interests

Psychiatry; Radiology; Tobacco; Mood Disorders; Molecular Imaging; Chemicals and Drugs

Research Organizations

Psychiatry: Center for Nicotine and Tobacco Use Research at Yale (CENTURY) | Cosgrove Lab Collaborators | Neuroscience Research Training Program (NRTP) | Psychology Section | Translational Brain Imaging Program | VA National Center for PTSD | Women's Behavioral Health Research, Division of

Faculty Research

Positron Emission Tomography

WHRY Pilot Project Program Investigators

Office of Cooperative Research

Research Summary

There is a high comorbidity between psychiatric illness and tobacco smoking, with common denominator of cognitive difficulties. The goal of our research is to examine the neurochemical changes, tested by PET brain imaging or Magnetic Resonance techniques, associated with mood disorders and comorbid tobacco addiction and the underlying cognitive decrements. We aim to determine specific systems, such as the nicotinic and glutamatergic, that may be a target for new pharmacotherapies to aid in alleviating mood and cognitive difficulties, and thus aiding with smoking cessation.

Specialized Terms: Neuroreceptor imaging; Mood disorders; Tobacco addiction

Extensive Research Description

Examination of the beta2-nAChR system in bipolar depression and relevance to the persistent tobacco smoking.

Imaging glutamatergic system in depression via PET and MRS to determine role of glutamate and mGluR5 in depression and associated cognitive difficulties.

Imaging ACh changes in the brain in living humans.

Selected Publications

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Contact Info

Irina Esterlis, PhD
Mailing Address
Translational Brain Imaging ProgramYale University
2 Church St S

New Haven, CT 06519

Curriculum Vitae