Leadership Team

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Leadership Team 2020-07-13T20:13:43+00:00

Karestan Koenen, PhD

Dr. Koenen is Professor of Psychiatric Epidemiology and Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Dr. Koenen leads research and teaches about trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The broad goal of her work is three-fold. First, she studies why, when exposed so a similar traumatic event, some persons develop PTSD while others are resilient. She is particularly interested in how genes shape risk for PTSD. Much of this work is done through the PTSD working group of the Psychiatric Genetics Consortium (PGC) that she co-leads. Second, she investigates how trauma and PTSD influence weight gain and alter long-term physical health including chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and type-2-diabetes. Third, she documents global burden of trauma and PTSD through her work with the World Mental Health Surveys.

Caroline Nievergelt, PhD

Dr. Nievergelt’s research currently focuses on biomarkers for psychiatric disorders such as PTSD and bipolar disorder and she is leading the statistical analysis group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium PTSD group. Dr. Nievergelt received her B.S. in Biology, M.S. in Neurobiology, and Ph.D. in Biological Anthropology from the University of Zuerich in Switzerland. She joined UCSD in 1996 as a postdoctoral fellow to train in population and molecular genetics in the Department of Biology, followed by training in statistical genetics in the Department of Psychiatry. In 2007 she was recruited by the Scripps Research Institute as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine where she worked as a geneticist on phenotypes related to cardiovascular disease, circadian rhythms, mental health, and longevity. Dr. Nievergelt joined the UCSD faculty in 2008 and is the Principal Investigator on awards from the National Institute of Health. She is also Associate Director of the Health and Neuroscience Unit of the Center of Excellence for Stress and Mental Health at the San Diego Veterans Healthcare System and an active member of the UCSD Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny (CARTA) and the Center for Circadian Biology (CCB).

Kerry Ressler MD, PhD

Dr Ressler is chief scientific officer and James and Patricia Poitras Chair in Psychiatry at Harvard University’s McLean Hospital, after serving at Emory University for 18 years. He is also a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and current president of the Society for Biological Psychiatry. Dr. Ressler was previously an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and is a member of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) and the National Academy of Medicine. Dr. Ressler’s lab focuses on translational research bridging molecular neurobiology in animal models with human genetic research on emotion, particularly fear and anxiety disorders. He has published over 225 manuscripts ranging from basic molecular mechanisms of fear processing to understanding how emotion is encoded in a region of the brain called the amygdala, in both animal models and human patients.

Murray B. Stein, MD, MPH, FRCPC

Dr. Stein is Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Family Medicine & Public Health, and Vice Chair for Clinical Research in Psychiatry at the University of California San Diego (UCSD). He is also a Staff Psychiatrist at the VA San Diego Healthcare System. Dr. Stein’s research interests include the epidemiology, neurobiology, genetics and treatment of anxiety and traumatic stress-related disorders especially social phobia, panic disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder. He has written or co-written over 700 peer-reviewed scientific articles on these topics. Dr. Stein is Co-Editor-in-Chief for UpToDate in Psychiatry, Editor-in-Chief for the journal Depression and Anxiety, and Deputy Editor for the journal Biological Psychiatry.