About Dean Charney

Dennis S. Charney, MD, is Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Dean of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and President for Academic Affairs for the Mount Sinai Health System. An internationally acclaimed expert in the neurobiology and treatment of mood and anxiety disorders, Dr. Charney has made fundamental contributions to the understanding of the causes of human anxiety, fear, and depression, and to the discovery of new treatments for mood and anxiety disorders.

Under Dean Charney’s leadership, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai has risen to, and maintained, its strength among the top 20 U.S. medical schools in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding, and currently ranks second in funding per faculty member from the NIH. With an emphasis on innovation and discovery and a track record of strategic recruitments across the biomedical sciences and in genomics, computational biology, and information technology, the School has cultivated a supercharged, Silicon Valley-like atmosphere in the academic setting. As the sole medical school partnering with the seven hospitals of the Mount Sinai Health System, the Icahn School of Medicine has one of the most expansive educational, research and clinical footprints in the nation.

Early in his tenure as Dean, Dr. Charney unveiled Mount Sinai's $2.25 billion strategic plan, which laid the foundation for establishing multidisciplinary research institutes as hubs for scientific and clinical collaboration.  Within and across the institutes, faculty investigators and physicians work together to push the boundaries of science and medicine in order to address the most pressing biomedical challenges of our time.  Dr. Charney is now overseeing the creation of complementary clinical institutes for the entire Mount Sinai Health System.  These new institutes are Centers of Excellence for disease-specific areas such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, HIV, and pulmonary diseases.  Together the research and clinical institutes are generating game-changing models in translational research, clinical excellence and standards of care. 

Recent affiliations with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Google, IBM and Apple further enhance the landscape for discovery at Icahn School of Medicine.   These unique relationships have expanded opportunities for cross-fertilization of ideas and programs, and present exciting educational, scientific and clinical possibilities for our students and faculty alike.

Dean Charney's career began in 1981 at Yale University School of Medicine, where, within nine years, he rose from Assistant Professor to tenured Professor of Psychiatry. While at Yale, he chaired the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Board of Scientific Counselors, which advises the institute's director on intramural research programs. In 2000, the NIMH recruited Dr. Charney to lead their Mood and Anxiety Disorder Research Program — one of the largest programs of its kind in the world —and the Experimental Therapeutics and Pathophysiology Branch. That year, Dr. Charney was elected to the National Academies of Medicine.

In 2004, Dr. Charney was recruited to Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai as Dean of Research. In 2007, he was appointed Dean of the School and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs of the Medical Center. In 2013, Dr. Charney was named President for Academic Affairs for the Health System.  He is currently one of the longest-serving Deans of any American medical school.

Dr. Charney’s own robust research program has garnered recognition through virtually every major award in his field. His investigations of the causes and treatment of depression have generated new hypotheses regarding the mechanisms of antidepressant drugs and have resulted in novel therapies, including Lithium and Ketamine for treatment-resistant depression. The work of his research team demonstrating that Ketamine as a rapidly acting antidepressant has been hailed as one of the most exciting developments in antidepressant therapy in more than half a century.  

Recently, Dr. Charney’s pioneering research has expanded to include the psychobiological mechanisms of human resilience to stress, and has led to the identification of ten key resilience factors for building the strength to weather and recover from stress and trauma. This work is in the basis for his inspiring book for lay audiences, Resilience: The Science of Mastering Life's Greatest Challenges, co-authored by Steven Southwick and published by Cambridge University Press in 2012.

A prolific author, Dr. Charney has written more than 600 publications, including groundbreaking scientific papers, chapters, and books. His many books include: Neurobiology of Mental Illness (Oxford University Press, USA, Fourth Edition, 2013); The Peace of Mind Prescription: An Authoritative Guide to Finding the Most Effective Treatment for Anxiety and Depression (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2004); The Physician’s Guide to Depression and Bipolar Disorders(McGraw-Hill Professional, 2006), Resilience and Mental Health: Challenges Across the Lifespan (Cambridge University Press, 2011). 

Dr. Charney is a committed educator and role model who lectures within Mount Sinai, nationally and internationally.  He has mentored and taught scores of junior faculty, postdoctoral fellows, medical students and graduate students throughout his career.