Department News & Announcements: New Faces
Meet six additions to our faculty
The Department of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine is pleased to welcome the following new faculty:
Dr. Kate Burdick has joined the Department of Psychiatry and the Friedman Brain Institute as Associate Professor and Chief of Neuropsychology Research.
Her investigations are focused on the neuropsychological dysfunction of psychotic disorders with an emphasis on understanding the genetic underpinnings of these deficits. She has extensive clinical experience in the assessment of cognition in psychiatric and neurologic patients.
A leader in the field of cognitive genetics, Dr. Burdick has received funding from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD) and the Stanley Medical Research Institute. She has authored more than 60 publications, presented at more than 100 national and international meetings and co-edited the first published book focused on the cognitive deficits common in bipolar disorder.
Dr. Burdick received her doctorate from the City University of New York-The Graduate Center. She completed her clinical internship and her postdoctoral fellowship at Yale University School of Medicine. Prior to joining Mount Sinai, she served as Director of the Neurocognitive Assessment Unit in Psychiatry Research at the Zucker Hillside Hospital-North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System and was Assistant Professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Dr. Hirofumi Morishita has joined the Department of Psychiatry as Assistant Professor. He will also hold secondary appointments in the Departments of Neuroscience and Ophthalmology and be a member of the Child Health Development Institute and the Friedman Brain Institute.
His research focuses on understanding the mechanisms of experience-dependent brain plasticity during the developmental critical period. By combining molecular, circuit and systems level methodologies in a mouse visual cortex his study identified novel molecular “brakes” on adult plasticity. His findings, which were published in Science, showed that removing these brakes successfully restored juvenile brain plasticity in adulthood.
In his Mount Sinai laboratory, Dr. Morishita aims to translate the critical period principle beyond vision and apply it to better understand neurodevelopmental disorders such as schizophrenia.
Prior to joining Mount Sinai, Dr. Morishita completed a fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Takao Hensch at the Children’s Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School. He earned his medical degree from Kyushu University and his doctoral degree in molecular neuroscience from Osaka University in Japan. His postdoctoral work led to the pre-clinical discovery of therapeutic strategies for functional recovery in adulthood.
Dr. James Murrough has joined the Departments of Psychiatry and Neuroscience as Assistant Professor and has been named a Faculty member of the Friedman Brain Institute at Mount Sinai.
In his new role, Dr. Murrough will maintain a faculty practice and conduct cutting-edge clinical trials and neuroimaging research as part of the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program (MAP). His clinical and translational projects in mood disorders cut across traditional boundaries in psychiatry and neuroscience in an effort to identify mechanisms of disease and novel therapeutic interventions that are urgently needed for our patients.
Dr. Murrough’s research focuses on biomarker and novel pharmacotherapy discovery in mood disorders with an emphasis on functional MR imaging and PET-based techniques to characterize brain systems that regulate emotion and the impact of therapeutics on these systems. He has received independent research funding through a K23 Career Development Award from the NIH/NIMH, as well as funding from NARSAD, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the Mount Sinai CTSA and the Friedman Brain Institute.
After joining Mount Sinai in 2005, Dr. Murrough became the first psychiatry resident to participate in a specialized physician-scientist research track. He received his medical degree from Tufts University Medical School in Boston.
Dr. Shaun Purcell has joined the Department of Psychiatry as an Associate Professor. He will also serve as the director of the Center for Statistical Genetics, which is affiliated with the Departments of Psychiatry and Genetics and Genomic Sciences.
In his laboratory, Dr. Purcell is developing statistical and computational tools for the design of genetic studies, the detection of gene variants influencing complex human traits and the dissection of these effects in the larger context of other genetic and environmental factors. Currently, his major focus is the application of these approaches on large-scale molecular datasets, such as from whole exome resequencing, to better understand the genetic basis of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
Dr. Purcell’s research has led to the discovery of some of the first replicated genetic risk factors for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. The computational tools he has developed have been widely used and have facilitated discoveries from hundreds of external groups studying complex diseases and traits.
Prior to joining Mount Sinai, Dr. Purcell was an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School and Senior Associate Member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. He received his doctorate from King’s College London and completed his postdoctoral work at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Dr. Anne Schaefer has joined the Departments of Psychiatry and Neuroscience as an Assistant Professor. She will also hold an appointment as a Seaver Fellow at the Friedman Brain Institute.
Dr. Schaefer’s research focuses on identifying the epigenetic basis of neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders. In particular, she is studying how miRNAs and histone modifying enzymes contribute to the establishment and maintenance of neuronal identity and specialized functions.
In her laboratory, Dr. Schaefer is developing animal models of human neurological disease that are associated with abnormal function of epigenetic regulators of different types. Using pioneering technologies including cell type specific analysis of mRNAs, miRNAs and chromatin modifications in neurons in vivo, she aims to understand the mechanism of neurological disorders and discover potential treatments by targeting the neuronal epigenome.
Dr. Schaefer joins Mount Sinai from The Rockefeller University, where she received her postdoctoral degree in the laboratory of Dr. Paul Greengard. During her postdoctoral studies, Dr. Schaefer identified the role of microRNAs in neuronal survival and established the key role of suppressive histone modifications in regulation of the neuronal transcriptional homeostasis. She received her medical and doctorate degrees from the Charité University Berlin.
Dr. Emily Stern has joined the Departments of Psychiatry and Neuroscience as an Assistant Professor.
In her new position, Dr. Stern will investigate the neurobiological substrates of aberrant appraisal and decision processes in obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and other anxiety disorders. Her work will investigate large-scale network functioning in relation to core psychological processes in anxiety — such as risk estimation, decision uncertainty and negative future thinking — with a focus on distinguishing mechanisms that are specific to OCD from those that are common across several disorders.
The overall goal of her research is to identify behavioral and biological markers of anxiety vulnerability and resilience that can be used as targets for treatment. She also plans to take an active role in student mentoring and teaching.
Dr. Stern received her doctoral degree in experimental psychology from Columbia University. During her postdoctoral training at the University of Michigan, she conducted research investigating neural mechanisms of altered decision-making and error hypersensitivity in OCD. Her findings have been published in the Journal of Neuroscience and Biological Psychiatry, and she has received funding by major organizations including an NIMH National Research Service Award and a Young Investigator Award from the Brain and Behavior Foundation.