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Addy, Huckins, Petrakis Elected to Connecticut Academy of Science & Engineering

February 26, 2023

Three faculty in the Yale Department of Psychiatry have been elected to membership in the Connecticut Academy of Science & Engineering (CASE).

Nii Addy, PhD, Albert E. Kent Associate Professor of Psychiatry and associate professor of cellular and molecular physiology; Laura Huckins, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry; and Ismene Petrakis, MD, professor of psychiatry, will be recognized at CASE’s 48th annual meeting this spring.

Scientists are nominated for election to CASE by members through an annual election process. Members must live or work in Connecticut. They are elected by the current membership for their accomplishments in science, engineering, and/or technology.

CASE was chartered by the Connecticut General Assembly in 1976 to provide expert guidance on science and technology to the people and state of Connecticut, and to promote the application of science and technology to human welfare and economic well-being.

The new 2023 members include:

Nii Addy, PhD

Professional Area: Cholinergic, dopaminergic, and L-type calcium channel mechanisms mediating substance use and mood disorders.

Citation: For facilitating a paradigm shift in mood disorders research, elucidating midbrain cholinergic and dopaminergic interactions medicating stress, anxiety, and comorbid mood disorder and substance use related behaviors, with implications for the understanding and treatment of these psychiatric illnesses.

Addy is Yale School of Medicine’s inaugural director of scientist diversity and inclusion.

Laura Huckins, PhD,

Professional Area: Psychiatric genetics; statistical genetics; eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder.

Citation: For innovation in psychiatric genetics, pushing forward our understanding of how genetics and environment interact at the molecular, physiological, and societal level to cause psychiatric disease, with implications for our understanding of genetic architecture and aetiopathology of psychiatric disorders including eating disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Ismene Petrakis, MD

Professional Area: Has had a major clinical impact because due to ability to develop a compelling translational neuroscience program that refines research hypotheses in clinical laboratory settings, conducts pilot clinical trial, and then leads definitive multi-center clinical trials. Applying this approach, she identified and validated pharmacotherapy strategies for PTSD comorbid with alcohol use disorder and opioid use disorder. She also identified a novel pharmacotherapy for cocaine use disorder.

Citation: Leading expert on the mental health of veterans in the State of Connecticut; a pioneer in the treatment of patients suffering from both addictions and mental illness. These "dually diagnosed" patients constitute a major public health burden and require specialized interventions to respond to their complex needs.

Petrakis is chief of psychiatry at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System.

Submitted by Christopher Gardner on February 27, 2023