Rajita Sinha PhD

Foundations Fund Professor of Psychiatry and Professor in the Child Study Center and of Neurobiology; Director, Yale Interdisciplinary Stress Center; Chief, Psychology Section in Psychiatry; Deputy Director, Yale Center for Clinical Investigation (Yale CTSA)

Biographical Info

Rajita Sinha, Ph.D. is the Foundations Fund Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Yale University and also Professor of Neurobiology and Child Study. She is also Chief of the Psychology section in Psychiatry and Deputy Director of Yale Center for Clinical Investigation (the Yale Clinical Translational Science Award). She is the Founding Director of the Yale Stress Center, a university wide center that focuses on understanding the effects of stress on emotions, mood and behavior, in order to improve health outcomes relating to choices and maladaptive behaviors. She has also served as the Director of Addiction Services at the Connecticut Mental Health Center. She is internationally known for her pioneering research on the mechanisms linking stress, emotions to addictive behaviors and health outcomes. Her research objectives are threefold: (a) to elucidate sex-specific neurobiological mechanisms underlying stress and stress management in humans; (b) to examine neurobiological alterations in stress and instrumental learning and reward circuits associated with maladaptive behaviors and addictive disorders; and (c) to develop effective prevention and treatment strategies that target stress and emotion regulation in individuals both at-risk for and those with addictive behaviors and chronic medical conditions. These objectives are being accomplished through a series of NIH funded research projects and she has published widely on these topics. She has served on many NIH special emphasis panels, review committees and workshops, presented at numerous national and international conferences, and her work is widely cited.


Education & Training

Ph.D.
Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center (1990)
Ph.D. Clin
Yale University (1992)

Honors & Recognition

  • American Association for Retired Persons (AARP) Bulletin and News story on Stress
    AARP (2009)
  • WTNH – Local ABC Greater New Haven channel feature on Stress on December 23, 2008
    (2008)
  • Invited Visiting Lecturer, Pembroke College, Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK, November 21-23, 2005
    (2005)
  • Chairman’s Award, Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine
    (1999)
  • President's Award for Outstanding Research, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
    (1990)
  • Keynote Address at the Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and Drugs (ASPAD) Annual International Conference, November 8th, 2005
    (2005)
  • Radio talk show on WNPR – Connecticut Program called “Where We Live – Coping with Stress” December 12, 2008
    WNPR (2008)
  • USA Today Report on stress and the current financial crisis – October 7, 2008
    (2008)
  • NBC Nightly News on December 29, 2008
    (2008)
  • Hartford Courant quoted Dr. Sinha’s research and findings, December 12, 2008
    (2008)
  • Special Award of Excellence in Research, College of Medicine, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
    (1990)
  • Invited Speaker at the Stress and Alcoholism Conference in Volterra, Italy, May 6-8 2008
    (2008)
  • Invited Speaker on "Sex differences in the neurobiology of addiction" at the 3rd International Congress on Women’s Mental Health, March 17-20, 2008 in Melbourne, Australia.
    (2008)
  • Invited Faculty to the Program of European Neuroscience Schools on Stress, Drug Addiction and Eating Disorders, Dubrovnik, Croatia, June 21 – 28, 2009. (Topic: Role of Stress in Addiction Relapse).
    (2009)
  • NIDA NewsScan features Lofexidine study to curb opiate craving and relapse
    (2008)
  • October issue of the New Haven Register features Dr. Sinha’s research linking stress and addictive behaviors.
    (2007)
  • Invited National Lectureship on Stress and Alcoholism: Research Society of Alcoholism Lecture Series, 2006
    (2006)
  • April 20, 2006 - Dr. Sinha was the featured guest on the Ron Thulen Show to discuss the link between stress and unhealthy behaviors.
    (2006)
  • Invited Speaker at the 9th Annual World Congress of Biological Psychiatry in Paris, June 29-July 2 (Topic: Endocannibinoids, processing of reward-related stimuli and substance use disorders).
    (2009)
  • Invited Speaker at American Psychological Association’s symposium “Stress, Sex and Smoking: The Differential Role of Stress in Smoking Maintenance and Relapse in Males and Females,” in Toronto, August 6-9, 2009.
    (2009)
  • Feb 23rd USA Today Health Section article on “Americans engage in unhealthy behaviors to manage stress” included Dr. Sinha’s expert comments from her research on stress and addiction
    (2006)
  • NIDANotes Newscan features Sinha et al. latest findings on Stress and cocaine relapse
    (2006)
  • Plenary Speaker in the Opening Session of the California Society of Addiction Medicine State-of-the-Art “From the Brain to the Community” Conference, October 19
    (2005)
  • August NIDANotes Newscan features Sinha stress and addiction relapse findings.
    (2005)
  • Most Highly Cited article (Sinha, 2001) from the Journal Psychopharmacology (as compiled from the Scientific Journals Citation Report)
    (2005)
  • NIH Independent Scientist (K02) Award
    (2004)
  • NIDANotes April 9 Newscan features Sinha 2001 model on Stress and Addiction
    (2002)
  • NIH Interdisciplinary Women’s Health Research Scholar Award (Yale BIRCWH Program)
    (2002)
  • NIH Interdisciplinary Women’s Health Research Scholar Award (Yale BIRCWH Program)
    (2001)
  • American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) Memorial Travel Award
    (2000)
  • Elected Member of the College of Problems on Drug Dependence
    (1999)

Professional Service

  • Invited Member of Special Emphasis Review Group for the NIDA RFA on “Neuroimaging of Negative Reinforcement in Humans,” May 29, 2009 (2009)
  • Invited Member of Special Emphasis Review Group for the Clinical Translational Science Award (CTSA) applications. February, 2008 (2008)
  • Invited Member of Review Group for the NIH Director’s New Innovator Awards, July 2007 (2007)
  • Invited Member for the NIH-NIAAA Special Emphasis Panel for Review of Exploratory Centers (P20 mechanism) on Translational Research on Alcoholism (2007)
  • Temporary Member of Clinical and Treatment SubCommittee (AA3), NIAAA – March IRG (2007)
  • Regular member, NIH-CSR Integrative, Functional and Cognitive Neuroscience IRG - Neurotoxicity and Alcoholism (NAL) Study Section (2005 - 2009)
  • Invited Member of the NIH-NIDA Special Emphasis Panel on Development of Exploratory Centers (P20 mechanism) on Translational Research in Drug Abuse and Addiction (2005)
  • Invited Member of the NIH-NCRR Special Emphasis Panel for Review of Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBREs – P50 mechanism), NIH-NCRR (2005)
  • June 2004 February 2005 - Temporary Member of Neurotoxicology and Alcohol Study Section, IFCN-IRG, NIH-CSR (2004 - 2005)
  • Invited Member of the NIH-CSR Special Emphasis Panel on Stress and Drug Abuse: Epidemiology, Etiology, Prevention and Treatment (2003)
  • Invited Member of the NIH-CSR Special Emphasis Panel on Chronic Stress and Its Relation to Drug Abuse and Addiction. (2003)
  • NIH-Center for Scientific Review IFCN-IRG: AlcTx3 Neuroscience Study Section Temporary member – Nov 2000 June 2001 October 2001 February 2002 October 2002 June 2003 (2000 - 2003)

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