Skip to Main Content

Paula Zimbrean

Associate Professor of Psychiatry; Director, Transplant Psychiatry Services at Yale New Haven Hospital; Associate Director, Consultation Liaison PsychiatryFellowship, Yale New Haven Hospital, Psychiatry; Director, Inpatient Psychological Medicine, Psychiatry

Extensive Research Description

My main area of research is that of psychiatric disease and organ transplantation. My publication on patients with psychotic disorder and organ transplantations has significantly influenced the discussion about the candidacy of this group towards not excluding patients with severe mental illness from transplantation listing. The description of eating behaviors in transplant patients is important given the obesity epidemics and the increased prevalence of non-alcoholic-steatosis-hepatitis (NASH), one of the main indications for liver transplantation. There is a significant need for a better understanding of eating habits, beliefs and behavioral strategies to address obesity in these patients. Understanding body image concerns is becoming relevant in the transplantation world as more non-urgent transplantation are becoming available (face and hand transplantation). I was recently interviewed for the European journal Science et vie about the impact of regenerative medicine upon body image concerns . In addition to studying psychiatric aspects of organ recipients, I am also PI for a study that evaluates prospectively the psychological status of liver donor candidates at Yale Transplantation Center. The study is performing psychiatric assessments of living donor candidates at their initial visits and follow up assessments including in candidates do not donate.

I am also evaluating the impact of the Transplant psychiatry rotation upon the trainees’ knowledge level and communication skills.

My work with Wilson Disease patients is a unique opportunity to study the psychiatric aspects of a rare genetic disease and to further inquire about mechanism of psychiatric symptoms. Being theat the underlying physiology of WD revolves around the role of copper in the organism, understanding the psychiatric presentations in WD can lead to a better appreciation of the role of microelements in the human brain.

Wilson Disease Registry is a longitudinal multidisciplinary evaluation study that follows patients with this rare disease with hepatology, neurological and psychiatric assessments. In addition to providing information on the psychiatric aspects of Wilson disease, the project can also serve as an inspiration for multidisciplinary registries for other rare diseases in which psychiatry can play a role. Overseeing the longitudinal psychiatric monitoring of these patients at 5 research centers in the US and Europe has allowed me to focus on shared and accepted views of psychiatric evaluation and care.


Research Interests

Mental Health Services

Public Health Interests

Mental Health; Substance Use, Addiction

Selected Publications

Clinical Trials

ConditionsStudy Title
Diseases of the Endocrine System; Genetics - AdultA Phase I/II Study of VTX-801 in Adult Patients With Wilson's Disease (GATEWAY)
Diseases of the Digestive System - Liver; Diseases of the Eye; Diseases of the Nervous SystemWilson Disease Registry