The Friedman Brain Institute


The leadership team at The Friedman Brain Institute includes experts from throughout the Mount Sinai Health System dedicated to advancing our understanding of the nervous system.

Message from the Director

Eric J. Nestler, MD, PhD
Director, The Friedman Brain Institute

The nervous system is the last frontier of the molecular revolution in medicine. Thanks to remarkable advances in studying the brain and spinal cord—many developed and in practice at Mount Sinai—we have made impressive strides in understanding how the nervous system functions under normal conditions and malfunctions in disease. Now, we are uniquely poised to take these advances and translate them into fundamentally new and improved treatments of brain and spinal cord disorders.

Our goal is to coordinate all neuroscience research at Mount Sinai—both basic and clinical carried out in numerous departments—and build translational bridges to clinical treatment programs throughout Mount Sinai Health System. Our clinical faculty members are national and international leaders, committed to the understanding of the nervous system and to significant clinical advances in diagnosis and treatment.

Leadership Team

Our leadership team represents many educational, research, and clinical departments across the School and the Health System.

Eric J. Nestler, MD, PhD
Dr. Nestler is the Director of The Friedman Brain Institute, the Nash Family Professor and Chair of the Department of Neuroscience, Professor of Psychiatry, and Senior Advisor to the MD-PhD Program. Dr. Nestler is a renowned neuroscientist, molecular biologist and psychiatrist whose work focuses on the molecular mechanisms of drug addiction and depression.

Schahram Akbarian, MD, PhD
Dr. Akbarian is a Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience. Dr. Akbarian’s research interests include epigenetic determinants of normal and diseased human brain development with implications for the neurobiology of major psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, autism, and depression.

Mark G. Baxter, PhD
Dr. Baxter is a Professor of Neuroscience, Anesthesiology, Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine. Dr. Baxter founded the Glickenhaus Laboratory of Neuropsychology through a generous gift from Seth and Sarah Glickenhaus.

Joshua B. Bederson, MD
Dr. Bederson is a Professor and Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery. He is an expert in skull base, trans-nasal minimally invasive and cerebrovascular surgeries. His neurosurgery specialty interests include meningiomas, skull base and brain tumors, brain aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations (AVM), cavernous malformations, pituitary tumors, pituitary adenomas, acoustic neuromas, and trigeminal neuralgia.

Joseph Buxbaum, MSc, PhD
Dr. Buxbaum, the director of the Seaver Autism Center, is Professor and Vice-Chairman of the Psychiatry Department. He is also a Professor of Genetics and Genomic Sciences, and Neuroscience. Dr. Buxbaum is a molecular geneticist who leads research into human psychiatric and neurological diseases.

Patrizia Casaccia, MD, PhD
Dr. Casaccia is a professor of Neuroscience, Genetics and Genomic Sciences, and Neurology. Dr. Casaccia’s work adopts molecular and cellular techniques to find new therapies for multiple sclerosis. Her work includes translational research in regenerative and personalized medicine.

Samuel Gandy, MD
Dr. Gandy is a Professor of Alzheimer's Disease Research, Neurology, and Psychiatry. He is also the Associate Director of the Mount Sinai Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, and Chairman Emeritus of the National Medical and Scientific Advisory Council of the Alzheimer's Association. Dr. Gandy is an international expert in the metabolism of the substance called amyloid that clogs the brain in patients with Alzheimer's. In 1989, he and his team discovered the first drugs that could lower formation of amyloid.

Alison Goate, DPhil
Dr. Goate is a renowned neuropsychiatric researcher and molecular geneticist whose pioneering work falls within two areas: gene discovery and modeling disease mutations. She identified the first gene mutation linked to an inherited form of Alzheimer's disease and discovered that a rare mutation in the PLD3 gene doubles the risk of developing late onset Alzheimer's disease, among other significant discoveries.

Rita Goldstein, PhD
Dr. Goldstein is a Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience. She is chief of the Brain Imaging Core (BIC). She also directs the NARC (Neuropsychoimaging of Addiction and Related Conditions) research group that uses multimodality functional neuroimaging methods to explore the neurobiological basis of impaired cognitive and emotional functioning in human drug addiction and other disorders of self-control.

Wayne Goodman, MD
Dr. Goodman is Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry. He is an expert in the development and application of deep brain stimulation for treatment-resistant obsessive-compulsive disorder and conducts research on neuropsychiatric disorders such as mood depression, autism, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease, and bipolar disorder.

Patrick Hof, MD
Dr. Hof is the Vice-Chair for the Department of Neuroscience. He is also a Professor in Neuroscience, Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, and Ophthalmology. Dr. Hof leads the Kastor Neurobiology of Aging Laboratories. His laboratory has extensive expertise in the pathology of neuropsychiatric disorders and has established an international reputation in quantitative approaches to neuroanatomy and studies of brain evolution.

Yasmin Hurd, PhD
Dr. Hurd is a Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry, Neuroscience, and Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics and the Ward-Coleman Chair in Translational Research. She is also the Director of the Center for Addictive Disorders at the Mount Sinai Behavioral Health System. Her multidisciplinary molecular, pharmacological and behavioral research integrates translational preclinical and clinical laboratory studies.

Paul Kenny, PhD
Dr. Kenny is Ward-Coleman Professor and the Chair of the Dorothy H. and Lewis Rosenstiel Department of Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics. Dr. Kenny also serves as the Director of the Experimental Therapeutics Institute. His multidisciplinary research involves the study of behavioral paradigms, physiological analyses, and the molecular underpinnings of neurobehavioral disorders.

Matthew Shapiro, PhD
Dr. Shapiro is a Professor in Neuroscience, and Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine. His research focuses on the neural mechanisms of memory in the everyday sense of the word: the ability to learn new facts and remember recent events. In particular, he studies how processing by neural circuits alters those circuits so that information is encoded, stored, and then later retrieved in appropriate circumstances.

Pamela Sklar, MD, PhD
Dr. Sklar is a Professor of Psychiatry, Neuroscience, and Genetics and Genomic Sciences. She is a neuroscientist, human geneticist and clinical psychiatrist investigating the genetic causes of psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Paul Slesinger, PhD
Dr. Slesinger is a Professor of Neuroscience. His research focuses on the function of potassium ion channels, which generate one of the inhibitory signals in the brain.

Barbara G. Vickrey, MD, MPH
Dr. Vickrey is System Chair for the Department of Neurology

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