New Faculty Announcements

New Faces: Meet new additions to the psychiatry faculty

The Department of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine is pleased to welcome the following new faculty:

Schahram Akbarian, MD, PhD

The Psychiatry Department, along with the Friedman Brain Institute, welcomes Schahram Akbarian, MD, PhD, to Mount Sinai. Dr. Akbarian will serve as Chief of the new Division of Psychiatric Epigenomics and Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience. He will also be a key contributor to educational efforts for residents, postdoctoral fellows, medical and graduate students.

Recruiting Dr. Akbarian to Mount Sinai represents an important step in developing outstanding basic and translational research programs in the neurosciences. Under his leadership, the Department will carry out epigenetic analyses of brain and peripheral tissues obtained from rodent models and humans, and translate those findings into the clinic.

Dr. Akbarian is internationally known for his cutting-edge research on the epigenetic mechanisms of psychiatric disorders. He is a widely recognized expert in advanced chromatin tools—many of which were developed in his laboratory—in conjunction with mouse mutagenesis and behavioral models of mental illness to bridge molecular, cellular, and behavioral investigations. He is also a renowned authority on the epigenetic analysis of human brain tissue examined postmortem.

Prior to joining Mount Sinai, Dr. Akbarian was Director of the Brudnick Neuropsychiatric Research Institute. He received his medical and doctorate degrees from the Freie Universitaet Berlin. Dr. Akbarian completed his postdoctoral training in neuroscience at the University of California at Irvine and the Whitehead Institute, and his residency in psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Tanja Auf der Heyde, PhD

The Department of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine is pleased to welcome Tanja Auf der Heyde, PhD. She will serve as Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Faculty Practice Associate in the World Trade Center (WTC) Mental Health Monitoring and Treatment Program.

Dr. Auf der Heyde’s research interests include the applications of psychodynamic psychotherapy to the treatment of traumatic stress and comorbid personality disorders, as well as their integration with other evidence-based practices. She is also studying the treatment of psychotic spectrum disorders, and the relationship between trauma and the development of psychosis.

Prior to joining Mount Sinai, Dr. Auf der Heyde was a post-doctoral fellow at the William Alanson White Institute in New York City. During her internship training at the Bronx Psychiatric Center, she worked primarily with a severely mentally ill forensic population. Dr. Auf der Heyde earned her doctorate from The City University of New York, focusing on disruptions in interpersonal rhythms as a result of a history of trauma.

Kristen Brennand, PhD

The Psychiatry Department, together with the Department of Neuroscience, the Friedman Brain Institute, and the Black Family Stem Cell Institute, welcome Kristen Brennand, PhD, to Mount Sinai. Dr. Brennand will serve as Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, with a secondary appointment in the Department of Neuroscience. She will also be a member of both the Friedman Brain Institute and the Black Family Stem Cell Institute.

Dr. Brennand’s research focuses on generating neural stem cells and neurons from fibroblasts obtained from patients to model the molecular and cellular deficits associated with schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders. Her work, which appeared in Nature in 2011, was the first report of cellular deficits found in derived neurons from schizophrenia patients. She will continue to develop this work here as a member of the Division of Psychiatric Genomics.

Prior to joining Mount Sinai, Dr. Brennand was a post-doctoral fellow at the Salk Institute under the supervision of Fred Gage, PhD. During her training, she generated human induced pluripotent stem cells from patients with schizophrenia and subsequently differentiated neural progenitor cells and mature neurons to serve as cell-based human models with which to study psychiatric disease. She earned her doctorate from Harvard University where she conducted stem cell research in the laboratory of Douglas A. Melton, PhD. Her doctoral work focused on determining the mechanism of growth and maintenance of pancreatic insulin-producing β-cells in adult mice.

Barbara Coffey, MD, MS

The Psychiatry Department welcomes Barbara Coffey, MD, MS, to Mount Sinai. Dr. Coffey will serve as Chief of the Tics and Tourette's Disorder (TD) Clinical and Research Program and Professor of Psychiatry. This unique program will be dedicated to the enhanced understanding, evaluation, and treatment of children, adolescents, and adults with Tics, TD, and related problems, such as Obsessive-Compulsive and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders.

An internationally recognized specialist, Dr. Coffey will develop a multidisciplinary team that will provide state-of-the-art, comprehensive diagnostic evaluations and consultation, pharmacotherapy and psychosocial interventions, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, for patients. Her research will focus on several areas including clinical phenomenology; the relationship between tics and psychiatric comorbid disorders, including pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders with streptococcus and the recently described pediatric acute onset neuropsychiatric syndromes; and novel treatments for TD and Tics. The goal of the program is to offer patients a seamless transition between the clinical service and the research program.

Prior to joining Mount Sinai, Dr. Coffey was an Associate Professor in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine, and Director of the Tics and Tourette’s Clinical and Research Program at the NYU Child Study Center. She has been regarded by her peers as a Best Doctor in both Boston and New York, and received the Teacher of the Year award at NYU. Dr. Coffey received her medical degree from Tufts University School of Medicine and her master’s degree in epidemiology from Harvard University School of Public Health.

Vilma Gabbay, MD, MS

The Psychiatry Department, along with the Friedman Brain Institute, welcomes Vilma Gabbay, MD, MS, to Mount Sinai. Dr. Gabbay will serve as Chief of the Child & Adolescent Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program and Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience.

In her new role, Dr. Gabbay will develop and direct a research program investigating the neurobiology of mood and anxiety disorders in children and adolescents with a focus on the dimensional investigation of specific symptoms such as anhedonia.

The goal of the program is to enhance understanding of the neurobiology of the disorders, which will lead to early identification, diagnostic refinements, and novel treatments. The research program will integrate neuroimaging, neuroimmunological, animal, and treatment studies.

Known as one of the nation’s leading experts on childhood depression, Dr. Gabbay has received numerous awards and honors and has published extensively in top-tier scientific journals. She has served as Principal Investigator on three NIH-sponsored projects and recently received a perfect score on her first R01 application to the NIMH.

Prior to joining Mount Sinai, Dr. Gabbay served as Assistant Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine—a position she held since 2004. She received her medical degree from the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University in Israel. Dr. Gabbay completed her residency in general psychiatry at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine.

Peter Glick, PhD

The Department of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine is pleased to welcome Peter Glick, PhD. He will serve as Assistant Professor of Psychiatry in the World Trade Center (WTC) Mental Health Monitoring and Treatment Program. Trained in psychodynamic theory, he incorporates interventions across modalities including cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and other behavioral strategies.

Dr. Glick recently co-published a chapter in a book about the psycholinguistics of self-deceptive speech and is preparing his dissertation for publication. He was the recipient of a number of distinctions including a University Fellowship and The Irwin Rock Memorial Award in Psychology for his dissertation investigating ruptures in the therapeutic alliance.

Prior to joining Mount Sinai, Dr. Glick completed his postdoctoral fellowship in the Psychiatric Recovery Center at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital focusing on severe and persistent mental illness. He also helped train psychology interns, externs, and psychiatry residents in psychotherapy. Dr. Glick earned his doctorate in clinical psychology from the New School for Social Research and completed his predoctoral internship at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center.

Dorothy E. Grice, MD

The Department of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine is pleased to welcome Dorothy E. Grice, MD. She will serve as Professor of Psychiatry, Chief of the Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders Program, and Associate Chief of the Tic Disorders Program in the Division of Tics, Obsessive-Compulsive, and Related Disorders (DTOR).

In her new role, Dr. Grice will have an active research program that focuses on the biology, genetics, and phenomenology of tic disorders, OCD, and autism spectrum disorders. She will also be Director of the OCD and Related Disorders Clinical and Research Program and Associate Director of the Tics and Tourette’s Clinical and Research Program, within the DTOR. Dr. Grice completed advanced clinical and research training in child psychiatry at the Yale Child Study Center through the National Institute of Health Research Training Program in childhood neurobiological disorders.

Prior to joining Mount Sinai, Dr. Grice was at Columbia University/New York State Psychiatric Institute whether she was the Genetics Principal Investigator at the Columbia University Simons Simplex Collection. While at Columbia, she established a DNA repository for all research participants within the Division of Child Psychiatry and directed the Tic, Tourette, and Related Disorders Clinic at Children’s Hospital of New York/New York Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Grice received her medical degree from the Medical University of South Carolina and is currently completing her masters of science in bioethics at Columbia University.

Roy Jerome, PhD

The Department of Psychiatry, together with the Comprehensive Health Program, welcomes Roy Jerome, PhD, to Mount Sinai. Dr. Jerome will serve as Assistant Professor of Psychology and work as a staff psychologist within the Comprehensive Health Program-Downtown, which provides primary and specialty care to patients in our community with HIV/AIDS.

Dr. Jerome’s areas of expertise include substance use disorders, sexual health, HIV, Hepatitis C (HCV), pain management, trauma-focused therapies, post-traumatic stress disorder, and men’s mental health. His research focuses on methamphetamine use, HIV-risk, and trauma.

Prior to joining Mount Sinai, Dr. Jerome was a postdoctoral psychology fellow in HIV and HCV at the San Francisco VA Medical Center. During his training, he developed an early-recovery treatment protocol for patients with methamphetamine use disorders. Dr. Jerome also focused on behavioral health treatments for patients undergoing novel interferon treatment for Hepatitis C. He earned his doctorate from New York University where he conducted research on methamphetamine use and HIV-risk among black gay and bisexual men in New York City.

Yan Jiang, PhD

The Department of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine is pleased to welcome Yan Jiang, PhD. She will serve as Instructor in the Researcher/Educator Track and as a faculty member in the Division of Psychiatric Epigenomics. In her new role, she will collaborate primarily with the Friedman Brain Institute and the Departments of Psychiatry and Neurobiology.

Dr. Jiang’s research interests involve genome-wide mapping of epigenetic information in cortical interneurons from both normal and diseased brains. She is also investigating epigenetic influences on brain functions in patients suffering from mood disorders, with a focus on the molecular biology of major depression.

Prior to joining Mount Sinai, Dr. Jiang earned her doctorate degree from the University of Massachusetts Medical School in the laboratory of Schahram Akbarian, MD, PhD. Her thesis work involved studying a chromatin remodeling protein Setdb1 histone methytransferase, which partially inhibits NR2B containing NMDA receptor function and mediates antidepressant-like effects in the transgenic mouse model for depression. In 2010, she was granted a Young Investigator Award from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression.

Joshua Morris, MD

The Department of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine is pleased to welcome Joshua Morris, MD. He will serve as Attending Psychiatrist and Assistant Professor on the Adult Inpatient Service at Mount Sinai Hospital.

Dr. Morris will provide outpatient treatment for psychiatric patients, specializing in the diagnosis and management of anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and personality disorders. Board-eligible in psychiatry, Dr. Morris is trained to use pharmacotherapy, individual psychodynamic psychotherapy, and group psychotherapy. He is also certified to perform electroconvulsive therapy. In his new role, he will also supervise residents and medical students.

Prior to joining Mount Sinai, Dr. Morris completed a four-year residency program at the Zucker Hillside Hospital-North Shore-Long Island Jewish. During his residency, he co-investigated the demographic characteristics of patients who received clozapine or long-acting injectable antipsychotics in a busy, academic, inpatient setting. His senior paper, based on this research, received an award from the Queens County Psychiatric Association. Dr. Morris earned his medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta.

Juan D. Pedraza, MD

The Department of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine is pleased to welcome Juan D. Pedraza, MD. He will serve as Assistant Professor of Psychiatry. In his new role, Dr. Pedraza he will provide supervision and didactic instruction to psychiatry residents and medical students, and be engaged in clinical assessment, treatment, and research in the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Outpatient Clinic and the Center of Excellence in ADHD and Related Disorders.

Since the beginning of his postgraduate training, Dr. Pedraza has been actively involved in teaching and research, conducting clinical trials in youth and adults with ADHD. As a resident, he obtained funding from GlaxoSmithKline to conduct a clinical trial evaluating the effect of Omega-3 fatty acids in the treatment of children with ADHD. As a child psychiatry fellow at Mount Sinai, he authored a chapter on the genetics of aggression, which was published in Advances in Psychology Research. He also received a research grant, which continues to be ongoing, from the Pond Family Foundation in association with the American Professional Society for ADHD and Related Disorders, to examine executive functioning deficits in parents of children diagnosed with ADHD.

Prior to joining Mount Sinai as a fellow, he completed his residency at the Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn. He received his medical degree from the Universidad El Bosque-Escuela Colombiana de Medicina.

Cyril Peter, PhD

The Department of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine is pleased to welcome Cyril Peter, PhD. He will serve as Assistant Professor of Research in the Division of Psychiatric Epigenomics. For two years, Dr. Peter has been an integral part of Schahram Akbarian’s, MD, PhD, laboratory team, which recently came to Mount Sinai and is studying the epigenetic mechanisms of psychiatric disorders.

Dr. Peter’s research focuses on identifying and characterizing novel proteins and molecular interactions involved in chromatin remodeling and epigenetic regulation in human and vertebrate brain. His goal is to translate those findings and develop new chromatin modifying drugs that have therapeutic potential for neuropsychiatric diseases. In addition, he will contribute to grants and projects for the Center of Excellence, organize a monthly seminar on psychiatric epigenetics, and serve as a mentor to graduate and postdoctoral students.

Prior to joining Mount Sinai, Dr. Peter was an instructor at Brudnick Neuropsychiatric Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. During his training, he identified a novel chromatin protein complex, which may play a key role in epigenetic mechanisms in the brain.

Dalila Pinto, PhD

The Psychiatry Department together with the Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences, and the Friedman Brain Institute, welcomes Dalila Pinto, PhD, to Mount Sinai. Dr. Pinto will serve as Assistant Professor and be engaged in full-time academic activities at the Seaver Autism Center, the Child Health and Development Institute, as well as the Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Pinto is also a member of the Department of Genetics and Genomics Sciences, the Friedman Brain Institute, and the Institute of Genomics and Multiscale Biology.

In her new position, Dr. Pinto will develop an independently funded program in neurodevelopmental disorders. She will pioneer research in autism genetics and genomics that draws on the unique clinical, genetic, and systems biology strengths at Mount Sinai and the Seaver Autism Center. By using a combination of high-throughput technologies together with bioinformatics and statistical genetics, her lab will integrate structural variation and other forms of genetic variation with clinical, gene expression, and epigenetics data, to identify genes and biological pathways involved in disease. Dr. Pinto will also play an important role in educational activities at the Medical School on the graduate, medical, and fellowship levels.

Prior to joining Mount Sinai, Dr. Pinto was a postdoctoral fellow in Genetics/Genomics & Bioinformatics at The Centre for Applied Genomics at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. She also served as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Medical Genetics at the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands. Dr. Pinto received her doctorate in human genetics and genomics from the University of Utrecht and her masters’ degrees in biology and population genetics from the University of Porto in Portugal.

Avi (Abraham) Reichenberg, PhD

The Department of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine is pleased to welcome Avi (Abraham) Reichenberg, PhD. He will serve as Professor of Psychiatry, work closely with the Seaver Autism Center, and hold a secondary appointment in Preventive Medicine. Nationally and internationally known for his developmental and neuropsychological studies in schizophrenia, Dr. Reichenberg was the first scientist to describe the increased risk for advanced paternal age in autism, and has provided molecular mechanisms for these findings.

In his new role, Dr. Reichenberg will augment Mount Sinai's research efforts in the area of psychiatric epidemiology and play an important role in enhancing the translational research program at the Seaver Autism Center. He will also aid in the development of the Divisions of Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Psychiatric Genomics by adding psychiatric epidemiology to these programs while contributing to larger efforts in neuropsychiatric analyses. Dr. Reichenberg’s expertise will enable many Mount Sinai researchers to introduce epidemiology dimensions to their studies, which will maximize their ability to obtain NIH research grants. His own research will focus on human and animal models in the context of the epidemiology of psychiatric disease.

Prior to joining Mount Sinai, Dr. Reichenberg was a Professor in Epidemiology in the Department of Psychosis Studies at King’s College in London. He earned his doctorate, master’s and bachelor degrees from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel.

Luis H. Ripoll, MD

The Department of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine is pleased to welcome Luis H. Ripoll, MD. He will serve as Assistant Professor of Psychiatry in the World Trade Center (WTC) Mental Health Monitoring and Treatment Program. Dr. Ripoll’s research interests include the neurobiological basis of personality differences in social cognition, identity, alexithymia, and aggression; developmental influences of attachment insecurity on neurobiological functioning; psychotherapy process research; and evidence-based treatments for personality disorders.

Dr. Ripoll earned his medical degree from the University of Florida College of Medicine in their research track, and completed his adult psychiatry residency at Mount Sinai where he served as Chief Resident. During his residency, Dr. Ripoll pursued additional expertise in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder and dissociative disorders, dialectical behavior therapy, and psychodynamic psychotherapy. He also pursued a James J. Peters VA MIRECC Psychiatric Clinical Research Fellowship, working primarily in Mount Sinai's Mood and Personality Research Program.

Corneliu Sanda, MD

The Department of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine is pleased to welcome Corneliu Sanda, MD. Dr. Sanda will serve as Assistant Professor and work full-time in the inpatient Dual Diagnostic Unit at Mount Sinai Hospital.

Board-certified in general psychiatry, Dr. Sanda is a licensed prescriber of Buprenorphine, a novel treatment for opiate dependence, and has an expertise in addiction psychiatry. During his post-doctoral training at Indiana University, he worked in a cellular biology laboratory and published several articles in national and international journals on Hepatitis B and its treatment.

Prior to joining Mount Sinai, Dr. Sanda pursued his general psychiatry residency training at Harlem Hospital—a community hospital affiliated with Columbia University. Later, he completed a psychiatry fellowship in addiction at Mount Sinai. Dr. Sanda received his degree from Carol Davila, commonly known as the most reputable medical school in Romania.

Jan Schuetz-Mueller, MD

The Department of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine is pleased to welcome Jan Schuetz-Mueller, MD. He will serve as Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Unit Chief of an adult inpatient psychiatric unit where he specializes in working with patients who have severe chronic mental illness.

In his new role, Dr. Schuetz-Mueller will treat patients and teach medical students and residents. As Associate Director of the Mount Sinai Program in Global Mental Health, he will coordinate several projects at international field sites that will improve psychiatric care in foreign countries. Such projects include developing child and adolescent psychiatry in Belize and creating an Alcoholics Anonymous program in the Caribbean islands of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. He will also mentor medical students and residents in the global health track.

Dr. Schuetz-Mueller completed his residency in psychiatry and a fellowship in psychiatric hospitalism and administration at Mount Sinai. He earned his doctorate in medicine from the Medical University of Vienna in Austria.

Eli Stahl, PhD

The Department of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine is pleased to welcome Eli Stahl, PhD. He will serve as Assistant Professor and be engaged in full-time academic activities in the new Center for Statistical Genetics, which is jointly based in the Departments of Psychiatry and Genetics and Genomic Sciences. Throughout his career, Dr. Stahl has established a national reputation for developing and applying novel methods in studies of complex disease. Recently, his research on polygenic modeling to inform genetic architecture was featured as part of a first-author manuscript in Nature Genetics.

In his new role, Dr. Stahl will help strengthen our expertise in genomics and genomic medicine, particularly in the application of genetic methods to other non-psychiatric illness. He will work closely with the Institute of Genomics and Multiscale Biology, and the Institute for Personalized Medicine, to foster collaboration among Mount Sinai researchers.

Prior to joining Mount Sinai, Dr. Stahl was a research associate in the Division of Rheumatology, Immunology, and Allergy at Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School and an Affiliated Researcher in the Medical and Population Genetics Program at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. He received his doctorate in genetics from the University of Chicago and his bachelor degree from the University of California, Davis.