People

  • 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. 

  • Alan Anticevic

    Associate Professor of Psychiatry; Director, Division of Neurocognition, Neurocomputation, and Neurogenetics (N3), Psychiatry

    Research Interests
    Affect; Mental Disorders; Cognition; Diagnosis, Computer-Assisted; Emotions; Memory, Short-Term; Schizophrenia; Computational Biology; Substance-Related Disorders; Neuroimaging
    Clinical Interests
    Adult

    Dr. Anticevic trained in Clinical Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience at Washington University in St. Louis where he trained with Drs. Deanna Barch and David Van Essen. Following graduate training, Dr. Anticevic completed his internship in Clinical Neuropsychology at Yale University. After internship, he joined the Yale University Department of Psychiatry as research faculty while concurrently serving as the Administrative Director for the Center for the Translational Neuroscience of Alcoholism. Subsequently, he was appointed as an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology at the Yale University School of Medicine, where he directs a clinical neuroimaging laboratory focused on severe mental illness. Dr. Anticevic is a recipient of the NARSAD Young Investigator Award, the International Congress of Schizophrenia Research Young Investigator Award, the NIH Director's Early Independence Award, the NARSAD Independent Investigator Award and the Klerman Prize for Exceptional Clinical Research. He currently serves as the Director of the Division of Neurocognition, Neurocomputation, and Neurogenetics (N3) at Yale School of Medicine.

    His group's research focus is centered on computational and cognitive neuroscience of mental illness. Specifically, Dr. Anticevic's group is interested in characterizing neural mechanisms involved in higher order cognitive operations, such as working memory, as well as their interaction with neural systems involved in affective processes, with the aim of understanding how these computations may go awry in the context of severe mental illness . Methodologically, his group uses the combination of task-based, resting-state, pharmacological multi-modal neuroimaging, as well as computational modeling approaches to map neural alterations that lead to poor mental health outcomes. The overarching goal of the group is to develop neurobiologically principled and computationally grounded mapping between neural and behavioral levels of analyses in people to inform personalized and rational treatment design for mental health symptoms.

  • Research Associate Psychiatry

    Eileen Billingslea has a long history of involvement with a variety of research programs in the Yale Department of Psychiatry; she has worked at the OCD Research Clinic since 2008. She manages patient data, human research protection compliance and documentation, and supervises other aspects of the clinic’s day-to-day function.

  • Associate Professor in the Child Study Center; Associate Director, Albert J. Solnit Integrated Training Program; Associate Director of the Tic and OCD Program

    Research Interests
    Child Psychiatry; Tourette Syndrome; Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder; Trichotillomania; Meta-Analysis; Neuroimaging; Psychiatry and Psychology

    Michael H. Bloch, M.D., M.S. graduated from Yale School of Medicine and completed his child and adult psychiatry training at Yale. He is currently serving as chief resident at the Clinical Neuroscience Research Unit in the Yale Department of Psychiatry. His research interests focus on studying Tourette syndrome (TS), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and trichotillomania (TTM) across the lifespan. His research focuses on developing better treatments for children and adults with these conditions and examining predictors of long-term outcome with an emphasis on neuroimaging. Dr. Bloch sees children with TS, OCD and TTM as part of the Yale Child Study Center TS/OCD clinic and adults with the same conditions at the Yale OCD Research Clinic. He is also the Assistant Unit Chief at the Clinical Neuroscience Research Unit (CNRU). The CNRU is a comprehensive 12-bed inpatient unit located in the Connecticut Mental Health Center that cares for patients enrolled in several psychiatric research protocols. Please see weblinks below for more information about these clinics.

    Dr. Bloch is also the associate training director of the Child Study Center's innovative psychiatry residency program. The Solnit Integrated Program provides psychiatrists-in-training with the opportunity to integrate general, child and research psychiatry across all stages of their career and will be a major pathway by which the next generation of academic leaders in child psychiatry are developed

  • Michael Crowley

    Associate Professor Child Study Center

    Michael J. Crowley, Ph.D. is a child psychologist whose work focuses on key questions in social and affective neuroscience. Dr. Crowley earned his doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2004, where he studied under Nathan Fox. At Maryland, Dr. Crowley’s training focused on child internalizing and externalizing disorders. He completed a child-focused clinical internship through the Brown University Clinical Psychology Training Consortium. Dr. Crowley’s post-doctoral fellowship occurred though the Yale Child Study Center Training Program in Child Neuropsychiatric Disorders under the mentorship of Linda Mayes, M.D. Dr. Crowley joined the Yale School of Medicine faculty as an Associate Research Scientist in 2008. Clinically, Dr. Crowley is interested in child anxiety and how working with parents enhances outcomes. Dr. Crowley’s work in child anxiety focuses on the neural substrates of avoidance, threat detection and worry. He is interested in treatment might lead to brain changes for these basic factors in child anxiety and how biofeedback can be used to supplement more traditional approaches. He uses dense array electroencephalography, peripheral physiology and functional imaging in his work with children and adolescents. Dr. Crowley is the recipient of a NARSAD Young Investigator award. His previous and current work occurs though support from the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

  • Thomas Fernandez

    Assistant Professor in the Child Study Center and of Psychiatry

    Research Interests
    Anxiety Disorders; Child Psychiatry; Genetics; Genetics, Behavioral; Tourette Syndrome; Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder; Psychiatry; Tic Disorders; Stereotypic Movement Disorder
    Clinical Interests
    Anxiety Disorders; Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity; Mental Disorders; Child Psychiatry; Genetics; Tourette Syndrome; Mental Health; Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder; Tic Disorders; Stereotypic Movement Disorder; Mood Disorders; Substance-Related Disorders

    Dr. Fernandez is a child psychiatrist and psychiatric geneticist who has an active clinical practice and research laboratory. Tom is a graduate of Princeton University and Yale School of Medicine, with additional research training at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland. He completed residency training in child, adolescent, and adult psychiatry in the Solnit Integrated Residency Program at Yale. As a faculty member in Yale Child Study Center and the Department of Psychiatry, Tom's research efforts include the following investigations into developmental neuropsychiatric disorders: (1) discovering genetic mutations in Tourette syndrome, motor stereotypies, obsessive-compulsive disorder, ADHD, and anxiety disorders using next generation DNA sequencing (whole genome and exome), and using these discoveries to identify treatment targets; (2) discovering epigenetic marker variation in these disorders; and (3) clinical trials of new behavioral and medication treatments. Tom has received research funding from the NIMH (K08, R01), Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (NARSAD), Simons Foundation, and Allison Family Foundation. Additionally, Tom works clinically as an attending in the Tourette/OCD/ADHD Clinic at Yale Child Study Center.

  • Patricia Gruner

    Assistant Professor; Assistant Director, Yale OCD Research Clinic

    Patricia Gruner, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist who specializes in OCD. She has specialized training in cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) with patients with OCD and related disorders, neurocognitive assessment, and neuroimaging. Dr. Gruner completed her doctoral training in Clinical Psychology at Fordham University. She then completed postdoctoral training in Clinical Neuroscience at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, where she conducted fMRI and neurocognitive research in pediatric OCD. She has also served as a clinician at both the Institute for Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy and Research and Western Suffolk Psychological Services. Her current work aims to integrate clinical, neurobiological, and cognitive perspectives on OCD. In particular, she is interested in how cognitive processes such as cognitive flexibility may be altered early in disease course and how these cognitive abnormalities relate to both aberrations in neurobiological functioning and clinical presentation. Her goal is to utilize this knowledge to create and refine a new intervention for patients with OCD, an adaptive computerized cognitive remediation training (CCRT) program that harnesses plasticity and targets disease specific cognitive deficits.

  • Michelle Hampson

    Associate Professor of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging and of Psychiatry and in the Child Study Center; Director of real-time fMRI

    Research Interests
    Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Neurosciences; Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder; Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic; Video Games; Neurofeedback; Psychiatry and Psychology

    After completing an undergraduate degree in Computing Science at the University of Alberta, Dr. Hampson did her graduate work in Boston University's Department of Cognitive and Neural Systems, a department focused on computational neural network models of brain systems. She came to Yale as a postdoc to pursue her interests in human functional neuroimaging. During her postdoc, Dr. Hampson conducted some of the earliest studies of resting-state functional connectivity, validating the technique and relating resting-state functional connectivity measures to behavioral variables. More recently, she has begun using real-time fMRI neurofeedback to train people to control their brain activity patterns. She is interested in novel functional neuroimaging techniques and psychiatric applications of these techniques.

  • Research Assistant 2 HSS

    Research Interests
    Anxiety Disorders; Behavior Therapy; Emotions; Health Education; Emotional Intelligence

    Stephen came to the clinic with a long-held interest in anxiety disorders and OCD. His current interests center on behavioral healthcare access, delivery, and quality, and social-emotional learning programs. He coordinates studies, supervises participant recruitment and data collection, conducts clinical assessment, and manages the clinic's social media accounts.

  • John Krystal

    Robert L. McNeil, Jr. Professor of Translational Research and Professor of Psychiatry and of Neuroscience; Chair, Department of Psychiatry; Chief of Psychiatry, Yale-New Haven Hospital; Director: NIAAA Center for the Translational Neuroscience of Alcoholism; Director, Clinical Neuroscience Division, VA National Center for PTSD

    Research Interests
    Alcoholism; Drug Therapy; Genetics; Neurobiology; Psychiatry; Schizophrenia; Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic; Veterans; Neuroimaging

    Dr. Krystal is a leading expert in the areas of alcoholism, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, and depression. His work links psychopharmacology, neuroimaging, molecular genetics, and computational neuroscience to study the neurobiology and treatment of these disorders. He is best known for leading the discovery of the rapid antidepressant effects of ketamine in depressed patients.

    He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Medicine. He also serves in a variety of advisory and review capacities for NIAAA, NIMH, Wellcome Trust, Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, the Broad Institute, and the Karolinska Institutet.

    Dr. Krystal previously served on the National Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Advisory Council (NIAAA), the Department of Defense Psychological Health Advisory Committee, and the NIMH Board of Scientific Counselors (chair, 2005-2007). He has led the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (president, 2012), and International College of Neuropsychophamacology (president, 2016-2018).

    Currently, he is co-chair of the Neuroscience Forum (NeuroForum) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, a member of the NIMH National Mental Health Advisory Council, and he edits the journal, Biological Psychiatry (impact factor: 11.982).

  • James Leckman

    Neison Harris Professor in the Child Study Center and Professor of Pediatrics

    Research Interests
    Adolescent Psychiatry; Child Psychiatry; Tourette Syndrome; Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder; Psychiatry; Tic Disorders; Global Health
    Clinical Interests
    Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity; Tourette Syndrome; Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

    James F. Leckman, M.D. is the Neison Harris Professor of Child Psychiatry, Psychiatry, Psychology and Pediatrics at Yale. Dr. Leckman is a well known child psychiatrist and patient-oriented clinical investigator. For more than 20 years he served as the Director of Research for the Yale Child Study Center.

    His peers have regularly selected him as one of the Best Doctors in America. Dr. Leckman is the author or co-author of over 430 original articles published in peer-reviewed journals, twelve books, and 140 book chapters. Dr. Leckman has a longstanding interest in Tourette syndrome and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). His research on these disorders is multifaceted from phenomenology and natural history, to neurobiology to genetics, to risk factor research and treatment studies. In 1999, he edited with Dr. Donald J. Cohen, Tourette's Syndrome: Tics, Obsessions, Compulsions - Developmental Psychopathology and Clinical Care, published by John Wiley & Sons. More recently, he edited with Davide Martino a 30 hapter volume, entitled Tourette Syndrome, that was published in 2013 by the Oxford University Press. One area or active research interest concerns the role of the immune system in the pathobiology of Tourette syndrome and other neuropsychiatric disorders. In August 2015 a special issue of Brain Research with twelve review articles was published that he edited along with Flora Vaccarino that is focused on "What does immunology have to do with brain development and neuropsychiatric disorders?"

    Based on his work on OCD, Dr. Leckman has also been drawn to study normal patterns of evolutionarily conserved obsessive-compulsive behavior. A major focus has been on parenting and the role of the bio-behavioral systems that closely interconnect our affiliative and stress response bio-behavioral systems. Most recently, in partnership with colleagues at UNICEF and the Mother-Child Education Foundation based in Turkey, Dr. Leckman has begun to explore the question whether strengthening families and enhancing child development is a path to peace and violence prevention. In October 2013, he chaired with Rima Salah and Catherine Panter-Brick the 15th Ernst Strüngmann Forum in Frankfurt, Germany. More than 40 international scholars across diverse fields—from child development to neuroscience and cultural anthropology explored the relevance of early child development to the pursuit of peace. Their deliberations highlighting directions for future research, and proposing novel approaches to translate knowledge into concrete action are summarized in volume entitled, Formative Childhoods: The Transformative Power of Children and Families, published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press in 2014. Related efforts include the Early Childhood Peace Consortium that was launched in September 2013) in New York in at the United Nations Headquarters. The most recent meetings of the Early Childhood Peace Consortium took place in Istanbul, Turkey in June 2015; Belfast, Northern Ireland in June 2017; and at the United Nations in September 2017. More information concerning how the science of early childhood development can facilitate the development of a more peaceful world is available at: http://childstudycenter.yale.edu/international/peace/index.aspx; and <http://www.ecdpeace.org/>.



  • Chiang-Shan Ray Li

    Professor of Psychiatry and of Neuroscience

    Research Interests
    Alcohols; Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms; Mental Disorders; Biological Therapy; Central Nervous System; Nervous System; Nervous System Diseases; Psychological Phenomena; Therapeutics; Behavior Control; Research Subjects; Drug Users; Chemicals and Drugs; Psychiatry and Psychology

    I am a Professor of Psychiatry and of Neuroscience at Yale University School of Medicine. I graduated from National Taiwan University College of Medicine and California Institute of Technology and has been a faculty member at Yale since 2003. My earlier work employed non-human primate models to understand the neural bases of cognition. Current research in my laboratory continues to focus on systems neuroscience. By combining psychophysics, computational modeling and brain imaging we explore the circuit mechanisms of a multitude of cognitive constructs, including self control, affect regulation, and reward-related processes. The primary goals are to understand systems neural bases of these cognitive processes and how these neural processes contribute to the etiology of psychiatric and neurological illnesses, with a specific emphasis on addiction.

  • Graeme Mason

    Professor of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging and of Psychiatry; Director Metabolic Modeling and Director Psychiatric MRS; Director, Neuroimaging Sciences Training Program; Chair, Magnetic Resonance Research Center Protocol Review Committee

    Research Interests
    Alcoholic Intoxication; Alcoholism; Amino Acids; Carbohydrates; Central Nervous System Diseases; Fatty Acids; Mathematical Computing; Substance Withdrawal Syndrome; Tobacco Use Disorder; Mood Disorders; Cocaine-Related Disorders; Alcohol-Induced Disorders, Nervous System; Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action; Physiological Effects of Drugs; Neuroimaging

    Dr. Grame F. Mason develops experimental models and methods for studies of brain metabolism using 1H and 13C Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) and Mass Spectrometry in conjunction with 13C isotopic labeling in vivo, in cell preparations, and other systems. His work began during his graduate studies at Yale where he used a rat model for the experimental determination of brain glucose transport kinetics, energetics, and neurotransmitter metabolism. Dr. Mason received further training at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he guided the group's 13C-labeling studies of the human brain in vivo in the 4.1T whole-body MR system. Dr. Mason currently studies metabolism and neurotransmission in the brain in vivo, including effects of psychiatric disorders and substances such as alcohol and nicotine; Dr. Mason examines healthy subjects and patients to investigate relationships among GABA, glutamate, and glutamine concentrations and their rates of synthesis and release in the brain, in particular with regard to effects of acute and chronic use of alcohol.

  • Linda Mayes

    Arnold Gesell Professor of Child Psychiatry, Pediatrics and Psychology in the Yale Child Study Center; Chair, Yale Child Study Center; Special Advisor, Dean

    Research Interests
    Adolescent Psychiatry; Child Psychiatry; Chronic Disease; Electrophysiology; Epidemiology; Pediatrics; Stress, Psychological; Behavior, Addictive; Psychiatry and Psychology

    Dr. Linda Mayes is the Arnold Gesell Professor of Child Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and Psychology and Director of the Yale Child Study Center. She is also Special Advisor to the Dean in the Yale School of Medicine. Trained as a pediatrician, Dr. Mayes’s research focuses on stress-response and regulatory mechanisms in young children at both biological and psychosocial risk. She has especially focused on the impact of prenatal substance use on children’s long-term outcomes. She has made contributions to understanding the mechanisms of effect of prenatal stimulant exposure on the ontogeny of arousal regulatory systems and the relation between dysfunctional emotional regulation and impaired prefrontal cortical function in young children. She has published widely in the developmental psychology, pediatrics, and child psychiatry literature.

    Given the nature of her work with children at significantly high-risk for developmental impairments from both biological and psychosocial etiologies, Dr. Mayes also focuses on the impact of parenting on the development of arousal and attention regulatory mechanisms in their children, and specifically on how substance abuse impacts reward and stress regulatory systems in new parents. With other colleagues in the Center, she studies how adults transition to parenthood, especially when substance abuse is involved, and the basic neural circuitry of early parent-infant attachment using both neuroimaging and electroencephalographic techniques. She and her colleagues have developed a series of interventions for parents including an intensive home-based program called Minding the Baby.

    Dr. Mayes's research programs are multidisciplinary, not only in their blending basic science with clinical interventions but also in the disciplines required including adult and child psychiatry, behavioral neuroscience, obstetrics, pediatrics, and neuropsychology.

    She is also a Distinguished Visiting Professor in psychology at Sewanee: The University of the South where she is working on intervention programs to enhance child and family resilience.

  • 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.

  • Gerard Sanacora

    George D. and Esther S. Gross Professor of Psychiatry; Director, Yale Depression Research Program; Co-Director, Yale New Haven Hospital Interventional Psychiatry Service

    Research Interests
    Amino Acids; Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms; Mental Disorders; Nervous System Diseases; Drugs, Investigational
    Clinical Interests
    Adult; Depression

    Dr. Sanacora completed an NIH sponsored Medical Scientist Training Program at the State University New York at Stony Brook, earning his Ph.D. in Physiology and Biophysics in 1992 and his M.D. degree in 1994. He then moved to Yale University where he completed his internship at Yale-New Haven Hospital, the Clinical Neuroscientist Training Program Residency in the Department of Psychiatry, and an NIH funded Neuroimaging Scientist Training Program Fellowship. He is currently an Associate Professor and the Director of the Yale Depression Research Program. Dr. Sanacora’s work is concentrated largely on elucidating the pathophysiological mechanisms associated with mood and other neuropsychiatric disorders. Much of his recent research has focused on identifying the contributions of the amino acid neurotransmitter systems (GABA and Glutamate) to the neurobiology of mood disorders and the mechanism of antidepressant action. Specifically, his basic science laboratory employs rodent models to explore the effects of chronic stress on cellular and molecular biology, and examines the molecular, cellular and behavioral effects of novel treatment strategies targeting these affected systems. His clinical laboratory employs novel magnetic resonance spectroscopy methodologies and pharmacological challenge paradigms to identify abnormalities in the function of the amino acid neurotransmitter systems in individuals suffering from mood and anxiety disorders. In addition, he is involved in several early phase clinical trials designed to test the clinical efficacy of newly developed therapeutic agents.

  • Matthew State
    Research Interests
    Autistic Disorder; Mental Disorders; Child Development Disorders, Pervasive; Tourette Syndrome; Schizophrenia, Childhood; Tic Disorders; Asperger Syndrome
    Clinical Interests
    Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder