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In Memoriam: R. Andrew Sewell, M.D.

July 29, 2013

The Department of Psychiatry is saddened to inform the Yale community of the unexpected and untimely death of R. Andrew Sewell, M.D., on July 21, 2013. Dr. Sewell was an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry.

Dr. Sewell was born in West Sussex, England, on November 22, 1971. He moved to Ridgefield, Conn., with his family in 1982. He graduated from Cornell University in 1993. In 1998, he graduated from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. In 2004, he completed dual training in neurology and psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts, where he was the first graduate of the combined residency program. He completed a substance abuse research fellowship at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School under the late Dr. Jack Mendelson before beginning fellowships in substance abuse research and schizophrenia research at Yale.

After completing his training 2010, he joined the Neuropsychopharmacology Research Group at Yale and the VA Connecticut Healthcare Center, where he was involved in laboratory studies probing the contributions of the GABA, cannabinoid, κ opioid, and dopaminergic systems to the neurobiology of mental illness. Dr. Sewell was the recipient of a Career Award from the Department of Veterans Affairs and the recipient of a Young Investigator Award from the Brain and Behavioral Foundation (formerly the National Alliance for Research in Schizophrenia and Depression/NARSAD) for his proposed work on the role of cannabinoids in extinction learning and the application of cannabinoids in the treatment of PTSD.

Dr. Sewell was actively involved at the VA and was respected by his colleagues there. His colleagues in the Department of Psychiatry also remember him fondly, for his enthusiasm, his commitment to his patients, his varied interests, and his unique perspective to life and science. He held a refreshingly original approach to studying mental illness.

Dr. Sewell is survived by his wife, Nikki Sewell; his parents, Dr. Harry Sewell and Mrs. Lynne Sewell; and his sister, Joanne Sewell.

Donations may be made in his honor to Doctors Without Borders or the ACLU, charities to which he donated on a monthly basis.

Submitted by Shane Seger on July 29, 2013