Physician Scientist Track

The Physician Scientist (Research) Track, which has a separate match number in the National Residency Matching Program (1490400C2), is designed for applicants who have a demonstrated interest and aptitude in psychiatric research. Note that this track is not limited to MD/PhD candidates. All students who have participated in substantial research activities are welcome to apply. We anticipate two positions in each entering class.

The Department of Psychiatry at Icahn School of Medicine is one of the top 10 psychiatric research departments in the United States as ranked by federal research support. A large and diverse faculty drives an extensive research portfolio. Information on federal grants to the Mount Sinai Department of Psychiatry can be viewed here:

Current NIH Grants
Current VA Merit Grants

Additional information regarding foundation grants, such as The Seaver and Greater New York Autism Center is available by request from Dr. Rieder.

The purpose of the Physician Scientist Track is to provide protected time for research during each year of residency education. Residents have 1 month of protected time for research in the PGY 1 year, followed by an additional 4 months of protected research time in the PGY 2 year. During the PGY 3 year, when residents treat outpatients longitudinally, a block research assignment is replaced by a longitudinal allocation, which we plan as 30% time, but could be as high as 50 % time, if some outpatient clinical training is moved to the PGY 4 year. The PGY 4 year then allows for even more time for research, and is meant to provide for the execution of research projects that could be continued following graduation from residency.

Applicants interested in the Physician Scientist Track should indicate their interest to Dr. Rieder and Dr. Simon, in advance of interviews if possible. Additional meetings with potential mentors are encouraged and will be arranged during the application season.

Time Allocated for Research
During the Physician-Scientist Residency Track
PGY-I 1 month
PGY-II 3 months
PGY-III 30% time throughout the year
PGY-IV 70% time for 8-10 months of the year

 

The Physician-Scientist Track began in 2008. Below are descriptions of the research experiences that just-graduated and senior members of the Track have had.

Pangiotis Roussos, MD, PhD, Physician-Scientist Track (Graduate as of 6/30/2012)
I recently completed the Physician Scientist Track offered by the Department of Psychiatry as MSSM. This program offered me protected time in order to get involved with research activities. As a PGY-1 and -2, there was 2 months of protected time that allows you to get exposed to different labs and research teams. The elective time, significantly increases at PGY-3 (30% of total time) and PGY-4 (80%) which provides sufficient time to work on a project, analyze results and publish them.

As a PGY-1, I worked at the lab of Dr. Monte Buchsbaum, analyzing neuroimaging data (MRI, DTI, FDG-PET and fMRI) in schizophrenia. As a PGY-2 I got involved with human brain postmortem studies at the Lab of Dr. Vahram Haroutunian and worked till the end of my residency training. During that time I received excellent mentoring from my primary mentor (Dr. Haroutunian), as well as, additional mentoring from multiple MSSM faculty members and I was able to develop the following projects:

1. Examine the role of the NF-kappa B pathway in schizophrenia. Preliminary results from this project were successfully used to obtain funding ($20K) from Mental Illness Research Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC) to expand the analysis from human postmortem brain to living patients with schizophrenia and their unaffected first-degree relatives. The manuscript describing the postmortem findings is currently submitted to Molecular Psychiatry.

2. Examine abnormalities of the node of Ranvier in schizophrenia. In this study, we used a combined analysis of transcriptomic, proteomic, genetic, cognitive and neuroimaging data to show that abnormalities of the node of Ranvier exist is schizophrenia. The results of this study were presented in multiple conferences, as part of invited speaker and were published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. In addition, these results provided the preliminary findings in two recently submitted grants (Dr. Haroutunian – PI) for examining the role of two different genes using animal models. In both grants I participate as co-investigator. Finally, these results supported a successfully funded grant (Dr. Domna Karagogeos – PI; European Union/Hellenic Republic - Juxtaparanodal proteins in the molecular organization of myelinated axons; 600.000 euros for a total period of 4 years). I participate as a co-investigator in this study.

3. Examine alteration in the transciptome of patients with schizophrenia using systems biology approaches. The results of this study were presented in multiple conferences, as part of invited speaker and are published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. In addition, these results were including as preliminary in a recently submitted K99/R00, where I am the PI, and aims to examine the genetic basis of gene expression in schizophrenia.

4. The research protected time provided me the opportunity to continue working on multiple different projects and submitting manuscripts in collaboration with my previous institute, where I obtained my MD and PhD, as well as, finish 2 book chapters. Finally, I participated in multiple other projects with Dr. Larry Siever, which resulted in preliminary results that supported a successfully funded grant (Dr. Larry Siever– PI; VA Merit - White Matter Abnormalities in the Schizophrenia Spectrum; $600.000 for a total period of 4 years), where I participate as a co-investigator.

Awards and Honors
2010 National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Outstanding Resident Award
2010 International Society of Psychiatric Genetics travel award.
2010 First place, New York State Psychiatric Association Scientific Paper Contest
2011 Research Colloquium for Junior Investigators from American Psychiatric Association.
2011 NIMH sponsored Brain Camp III, 2011 at Cold Spring Harbour, NY.
2012 Society of Biological Psychiatry's 2012 Domestic Travel Fellowship Award.
2012 Research Colloquium for Junior Investigators from American Psychiatric Association.
2012 First place, New York State Psychiatric Association Scientific Paper Contest.
2012 VA Advanced Fellowship Program in Mental Illness Research and Treatment.  
2012 Awarded the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology Travel Award

Publications during residency

Original Research: 16 publications in peer-reviewed journals, 3 submitted, 12 as first author, including:
1. Roussos P, Giakoumaki SG, Georgakopoulos A, Chrisoulakis A, Somaraki K, Robakis NK, Bitsios P. Allelic variations in ANK3 and CACNA1C impact on spatial working memory, startle reactivity and personality traits in healthy males. Bipolar Disorders. 2011 13(3):250-9.
2. Roussos P, Giakoumaki SG, Georgakopoulos A, Chrisoulakis A, Somaraki K, Robakis NK, Bitsios P. A D-amino acid oxidase Diplotype is Associated with Deficient PPI and Attenuated Anxiety in Healthy Males. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2011 36(8):1677-88.
3. Roussos P, Katsel K, Davis KL, Bitsios P, Giakoumaki SG, Jogia J, Rozsnyai K, Collier D, Frangou S, Siever LJ, Haroutunian V. Molecular and Genetic Evidence for Abnormalities in the Nodes of Ranvier in Schizophrenia. Archives of General Psychiatry. 2012 69(1):7-15.
4. Roussos P, Katsel P, Davis KL, Siever LJ, Haroutunian V. A System Level Transcriptomic Analysis in Schizophrenia Postmortem Brain. Archives of General Psychiatry. 2012 [In Press].
5. Roussos P, Bitsios P, Giakoumaki SG, McClure MM, Hazlett EA, New AS, Siever LJ. CACNA1C as a risk factor for schizotypal personality disorder and schizotypy in healthy individuals. Psychiatry Research. 2012 [Under Review].
6. Roussos P, Katsel K, Davis KL, Giakoumaki SG, Siever LJ, Bitsios P, Haroutunian V. Implications for nuclear transport of altered NF-κB signaling expression in postmortem brain samples from individuals with schizophrenia. Molecular Psychiatry. 2012 [Submitted].
7. Roussos P, Fromer M, Ruderfer DM, Williams H, Moran JL, Chambert K, Johnson JS, McCarroll SA, O’Donovan MC, Owen MJ, Kirov G, Purcell SM, Zhang B, Sklar P, Schadt EE. Gene coexpression network analysis in schizophrenia.

Mercedes Perez-Rodriguez, MD, PhD, Physician-Scientist Track (Graduate as of 6/30/2012)
During residency, I completed the project "Tryptophan Hydroxylase 2 haplotype association with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and aggression", which resulted in a paper, of which I am 1st author; an award nominated poster at the annual meeting of the Society for Biological Psychiatry; and the APA New York County District Branch Resident Research Award. I also presented this project at the APA 2011 Research Colloquium for Young Investigators. I am also first author of the paper "Striatal Activity in Borderline Personality Disorder: Sex Differences", which has received the APA New York State Scientific Paper Award. I am also Co-Investigator in the project “High Risk Suicidal Behavior in veterans: Assessment of Social Cognition” (Department of Veteran Affairs Mental Illness Research,  Edication & Clinical Center pilot grant funding), for which 26 patients have already been recruited. The aim of this project is to examine performance on social cognition tasks as a predictor of treatment response to Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) among veterans at high risk for suicide. I am also an investigator in the projects "Clinical Testing of a D1 Agonist for the Cognitive Enhancement of Schizotypal Personality Disorder", and "Pharmacology of Cognition in Schizotypal Personality Disorder (SPD)".

During the Mood Disorders Fellowship I plan to investigate whether the neuroimaging abnormalities found in patients with bipolar disorder, including overactivity in anterior limbic structures in response to affective Go- No Go or facial emotional expressions, might constitute a heritable endophenotype or biomarker of bipolar disorder, by being detectable in unaffected relatives carrying genetic liability for illness.

Publications during residency

Original Research: 22 publications in peer-reviewed journals, 3 as first author, including:
1. Perez-Rodriguez MM, Weinstein S, New AS, Bevilacqua L, Yuan Q, Zhou Z, Hodgkinson C, Goodman M, Koenigsberg HW, Goldman D, Siever LJ. Tryptophan-hydroxylase 2 haplotype association with borderline personality disorder and aggression in a sample of patients with personality disorders and healthy controls. J Psychiatr Res. 2010 Nov;44(15):1075-81. Epub 2010 May 6. PubMed PMID: 20451217; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2955771.
2. Perez-Rodriguez MM, Lopez-Castroman J, Martinez-Vigo M, Diaz-Sastre C, Ceverino A, Núñez-Beltrán A, Saiz-Ruiz J, de Leon J, Baca-Garcia E. Lack of association between testosterone and suicide attempts. Neuropsychobiology. 2011;63(2):125-30. Epub 2010 Dec 30. PubMed PMID: 21196783.
3. Perez-Rodriguez MM, Hazlett EA, Rich EL, Ripoll LH, Weiner DM, Spence N, Goodman M, Koenigsberg HW, Siever LJ, New AS. Striatal activity in borderline personality disorder with comorbid intermittent explosive disorder: Sex differences. J Psychiatr Res. 2012 Jun;46(6):797-804. Epub 2012 Mar 29.PubMed PMID: 22464337.

Awards and Honors
2010 AADPRT International Medical Graduate (IMG) Fellowship Award,
2010 APA New York County District Branch Resident Research Award
2010 Poster selected for the 30 Top Posters.  Society of Biological
2011 Annual Research Colloquium for Junior Investigators Award, Honolulu, Hawaii
2011 AADPRT Pre-meeting Speaker "How to do research during residency")
2011 American College of Psychiatrists Laughlin Fellowship Award
2011 APA New York County District Branch Resident Research Honorable
2011 American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) Travel Award Hawaii,
2011 Travel award and Presenter Critical Research Issues in Latino Mental Health conference
2011 New York State Psychiatric Association Annual Scientific Paper Awarad
2012 Selected for “Career Development Institute for Psychiatry”, a 2-year competitive career development program.

Laili Soleimani, MD, MS, Current 4th year Resident in Physician Scientist Track
During the prior 3 years of my residency training I was able to establish my research interest in the area of mood disorders and suicide.  I have been working closely with Dr. James Murrough and Dr. Dan Iosifescu at the Mood and Anxiety Program (MAP) to design, submit and establish the first inpatient psychiatry study at Mount Sinai Medical Center. We have designed a Double Blind Randomized Clinical Trial (RTC) to measure the efficacy of ketamine infusion in ameliorating the suicidal ideation (SI) and depression in the inpatient population. This study was funded by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and was launched in March 2012 I have also been trained and certified in administering repetitive trans-cranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and have been working closely with Dr. Vladan Novakovic at the Bronx VA hospital in a study measuring the cognitive changes after treatment with rTMS. I am also involved with two other studies that are expected to be launched shortly. In one study with Dr. Daniela Schiller as the PI, we will be measuring the changes in a prefrontal cortex (PFC)-dependent task after stimulating the cortex with the rTMS. In the other study with Dr. Pamela Sklar as the PI, we are looking for the possible cognitive enhancing effect of a calcium channel blockers (Isradipine). I am also submitting another study, along with Dr. Charles Kellner, measuring the implicit measures of suicidal ideations via a computer task before and after receiving ECT treatment.

Publications during residency
1. Lapidus KA, Soleimani L, Iosifescu DV. Depression: Diagnosis and Treatment. In The handbook of hospital medicine. Andrew Dunn(Ed). In Press
2. Soleimani L, Lapidus KA, Iosifescu DV. Diagnosis and treatment of major depressive disorder.Neurol Clin. 2011 Feb;29(1):177-93, ix

Poster Presentations:
- Society for Biological Psychiatry (SOBP) Soleimani L, et al.  “Impulsivity in Bipolar Disorder and its Relationship with Neurocognitive Dysfunction”
- APA’s Research Colloquium for Junior Investigators, Soleimani L, et al:. “Investigating rapid anti-suicidal ideation effects of intravenous (IV) ketamine in hospitalized patients”.

Awards and Honors:
2012- Workshop on Clinical Trials in Psychopharmacology
2012- Geriatric Mental Health Foundation (GMHF) Scholarship Program
2011- APA  Research Colloquium for Junior Investigators.

Grant Submissions:
NARSAD Young Investigator, in preparation
Co-PI and co-author:  Dr.J. Murrough PI, Drs. Dennis Charney, Dan Iosifescu, Laili Soleimani Co-PIs:   Double Blind Randomized Clinical Trial to measure the efficacy of ketamine infusion for suicidal ideation and depression in the inpatient population. Funded at $85,000 by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Kyle Lapidus, MD, PhD, Current 4th year Resident in Physician Scientist Track
I have used my protected research time in Mount Sinai's Physician Scientist Track to launch a career of patient-oriented clinical and translational research.  I have developed projects, received grants, and published on new approaches to mechanistic understanding and treatment of Major Depression and OCD. With support from NARSAD, I am currently investigating the role of Oxidative Stress in the therapeutic, rapid antidepressant response to ketamine in MDD.  To this end, I am performing MRS scans before and after treatment in a clinical trial of a novel administration method of ketamine for depression, intranasal administration. I am currently working on a research fellowship in deep TMS, and arranging collaborations with an Israeli group to study deep TMS at Mount Sinai and to extend Mount Sinai's ketamine studies by including additional sites.

Publications during residency
Original Research: 6 publications, 2 submitted, in peer-reviewed journals, 2 as first author, including:

1. Lapidus KA and CH Kellner. When to switch from unilateral to bilateral electroconvulsive therapy. J ECT. 2011:244-6.
2. Lapidus K and AR Gilbert.  Treatment of pediatric OCD.  Child Adol Psychopharm News 2010;15:6-12.
3. Lapidus, K, Joseph S.W. Shin, Rosa M. Pasculli, Mimi C. Briggs, Dennis M. Popeo, Charles H. Kellner.Low-Dose Right Unilateral Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT):  Effectiveness of the First Treatment. Submitted to Journal of ECT.
4. Lapidus KAB; Kopell BH, Ben-Haim S., Rezai AR, Goodman WK History of Psychosurgery: Psychiatrist's Perspective. Submitted to World Neurosurgery.
Chapter:
Lapidus K., Soleimani L., Iosifescu D.V. Depression: Diagnosis and Treatment. Chapter 78 in The Handbook of Hospital Medicine, In Press

Awards and Honors:
2012    APA Research Colloquium for Junior Investigators
            NIMH Brain Camp
2011    NIMH Outstanding Resident Award
            Graduate Medical Education Travel Award
            Career Development Institute for Bipolar Disorder
2010    NARSAD Young Investigator Award
            APA Research Colloquium for Junior Investigators
            Fellowship for Workshop on Clinical Trials in Psychopharmacology, ASCP

Grant Awards:
NARSAD Young Investigator Award, Lapidus (PI), 2011-2013.  Awarded
Oxidative Stress Biomarkers Predictive of IV Ketamine Efficacy in Depression
APIRE Janssen Resident Psychiatric Research Scholars Program ,Lapidus, 2010-2011
Projects relating to rapid treatments and biomarkers for depression.

Le-Ben Wan, MD, PhD, Current 3rd year Resident in Physician Scientist Track
I am a third-year psychiatry resident in the Physician Scientist Research Track at the Icahn School of Medicine. I was given four months of protected research time at the end of my PGY2 year, during which I began working on two research projects with the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program (MAP), directed by Dan Iosifescu, MD. My primary project is a pilot study to evaluate peripheral blood biomarkers of disease and treatment, including inflammatory, neurotrophic, transcriptional, and genetic markers. With Dr. Pamela Sklar, I have secured some internal funding and have begun collecting samples from patients suffering from depression, treatment-resistant depression, PTSD, and bipolar disorder. In parallel, I started working on a project, recently approved by our IRB, to model bipolar disorder using patient-specific induced pluripotent stem (IPS) cells. One goal of this project will be to develop an in vitro method, using neurons derived from IPS cells, to screen new therapeutic compounds. In the coming year, I will continue running the two studies that I started in my PGY2 year. I will also be involved in several studies evaluating the efficacy of ketamine for treatment-resistant depression and  a secondary analysis of unpublished neuropsychological data derived from a prior ketamine stud.  I plan to complete a review paper on the use of IPS cells to study bipolar disorder.

Awards and Honors:
2012 Travel fellowship for the ASCP Workshop on Clinical Trials in Psychopharmacology
2012 NIMH Outstanding Resident Award
2012 APA Research Colloquium for Junior Investigators

Benjamin Angarita, MD, Current 3rd year Resident in Physician Scientist Track
During my PGY-1 year I worked with Dr. Newcorn analyzing the data from his multi-site, double blinded, crossover comparison of trial of Atomoxetine vs OROS Methylphenidate in Youth with ADHD. I presented my findings as a poster at the American Psychiatric Association’s Institute on Psychiatric Services in San Francisco, California in 2011. During my PGY-2 year, I worked with Dr. Alexander Kolevzon to design a research plan for a pilot trial of IGF-1 in Autism Spectrum Disorder. I submitted this research plan to the National Institute of Health and received The National Institute of Health Clinical Research Loan Repayment Award for Individuals from Disadvantaged Backgrounds to support this pilot trial as a PGY-3 and PGY-4. In addition as a PGY-2, I designed several outreach programs and a research study related to Latino Mental Health and was awarded the APA/SAMSHA National Minority Fellowship ( $27,000) to complete this work.

Publications:
Angarita, BN: A PGY2’s Reflections on the ACGME Mandated Changes in Intern Work
Hours. January, 2012. Am J Psychaitry Res J. 11-12.

Awards and Honors
2011 American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry’s Program for General Psychiatry Residents
2012-14 National Institute of Health Clinical Research Loan Repayment Award for Individuals from Disadvantaged Backgrounds                          
2012-13 American Psychiatric Association’s Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration National Minority Fellowship


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