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  • Christopher Pittenger

    Director

    Associate Professor of Psychiatry; Assistant Chair for Translational Research, Psychiatry; Director, Yale OCD Research Clinic; Co-Director, Neuroscience Research Training Program

    Research Interests
    • Basal Ganglia Diseases
    • Tourette Syndrome
    • Learning
    • Molecular Biology
    • Neuroanatomy
    • Neurobiology
    • Neurophysiology
    • Neurosciences
    • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
    • Phobic Disorders
    • Psychopharmacology
    • Trichotillomania

    Christopher Pittenger earned his MD and Ph.D. degrees from Columbia University, where his graduate work was done with Nobel Prize recipient Eric Kandel. He returned to Yale University - where he had done his undergraduate studies - for residency and research training in psychiatry in 2003. He joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor in 2007 and was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor in 2013.

    During his Ph.D. studies in basic neurobiology, he became fascinated by the brain's ability to go on autopilot -- to perform complex series of actions or thoughts, after sufficient rehearsal, with almost no conscious effort. Then, during his clinical training, he recognized how this process, when disrupted by disease, can lead to the maladaptive and disruptive automaticity seen in many neuropsychiatric disorders. His research, both with patients and in animal models, aims to elucidate the mechanisms of learned automatic behaviors and to better understand the consequences when they go awry, with the ultimate goal of developing new understandings and better treatments for a variety of neuropsychiatric conditions.

    Dr. Pittenger's research and clinical work have been acknowledged by a number of prestigious awards, including grant funding from the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke, NARSAD, the Tourette Syndrome of America, and the Doris Duke Charitable Trust.  He has won a number of honorific awards, including from the National Institute of Mental Health, the Society for Neuroscience, the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American College of Psychiatrists. He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the International OCD Foundation and an active member of the Society for Neuroscience, the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, the Society of Biological Psychiatry, the American Neurological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and other groups. 

  • Rachael Grazioplene

    Postdoctoral Associate

    Dr. Grazioplene's research examines associations between neural phenotypes and human individual differences, with a focus on understanding how variation in neural features supports adaptive levels of personality function, and how these neural characteristics may become dysregulated in the context of psychopathology. She is particularly interested in examining neural features linked to psychosis-proneness and subclinical expressions of risk for obsessive-compulsive disorder. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Minnesota in the Personality, Individual Differences, and Behavioral Genetics program.

  • Associate Research Scientist in Psychiatry

    Dr. Pushkarskaya focuses on neurobiology of individual differences in decision making under uncertainty (risk, ambiguity, conflict and ignorance) in healthy and clinical populations. The most recent group of projects investigates abnormal patterns in preferences toward uncertainty in Obsessive Compulsive and Hoarding disorders. She received her undergraduate training in Math and Physics at Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics and postdoctoral training in Psychology at the Ohio State University. Before moving to Yale, she was a faculty member in Agricultural Economics at University of Kentucky.

  • Postdoctoral Associate

    Dr. Zaboski is a licensed Connecticut psychologist and a Nationally Certified School Psychologist. He completed his Ph.D. in School Psychology at the University of Florida, where he gained clinical experience with children and adults across a continuum of care ranging from school-based to acute inpatient facilities. He has considerable expertise in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for a panoply of psychological disorders and proficiency in educational, psychological, and neuropsychological assessment. He developed a clinical and research specialty in CBT with exposure at Rogers Behavioral Health in Tampa Bay under the supervision of Eric Storch, as well as in the University of Florida’s Department of Psychiatry, Division of Psychology during his clinical postdoctoral studies through the intensive anxiety/obsessive-compulsive disorder program. Dr. Zaboski’s primary interests include the application of sophisticated quantitative methods to understanding the neurobiological networks in individuals afflicted by OCD, improving exposure therapy through translational neuroscience, and training clinicians in exposure-based techniques.