Meet the Team

Rita Z. Goldstein, PhD, Chief
Dr. Goldstein is a Professor of Psychiatry with a secondary appointment in the Department of Neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS) in NY. Dr. Goldstein is chief of the Brain Imaging Center (BIC) at ISMMS; she also directs the NARC (Neuropsychoimaging of Addiction and Relat ed 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. An important application of this research is to facilitate the development of intervention modalities that would improve treatment outcome in drug addiction and other chronically relapsing disorders of self-regulation. Nationally and internationally known for her neuroimaging and neuropsychological studies in drug addiction, Dr. Goldstein formulated a theoretical model known as Impaired Response Inhibition and Salience Attribution (iRISA). The model uses multiple neuroimaging modalities—including MRI, EEG/ERP, PET—and neuropsychological tests to explore the neurobiological underpinnings of iRISA in drug addiction and related conditions. Dr. Goldstein became fellow of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) in January 2015, receiving the prestigious Joel Elkes Research Award in 2012 and the Jacob P. Waletzky Award in 2013.

Nelly Alia-Klein, PhD, Co-Chief
Dr. Nelly Alia-Klein is an Associate Professor at the Medical School. Dr. Alia-Klein received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Columbia University, New York City, in 2002 followed by an internship at Hillside Hospital in adult psychology. She completed a three-year post-doctorate in neuroimaging of addiction at Brookhaven National Laboratory T32 training program. Dr. Alia-Klein’s research interests concentrate on gene-brain-behavior mechanisms underlying violent behaviors and drug addiction. She has both the expertise and clinical experience to conduct innovative and integrated basic and clinical translational research studies that aim to elucidate complex psychopathology.

Muhammad A. Parvaz, PhD
Muhammad A. Parvaz is an Assistant Professor in the department of Psychiatry at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He received his PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Stony Brook University (Advisor: Dr. Rita Goldstein) and subsequently completed a NIDA-funded Postdoctoral Fellowship at Brookhaven National Lab and at ISMMS (Mentor: Dr. Rita Goldstein). Dr. Parvaz’s research focuses on using multimodal neuroimaging techniques (EEG and MRI) to study reward sensitivity (both drug- and non-drug-related) and emotion dysregulation in drug addiction. Currently, his research involves studying craving induced by drug-related cues in individuals with substance use disorders seeking treatment and developing and testing an EEG-assisted cognitive intervention to alleviate negative affect in cocaine addiction based on real time neurofeedback training. Dr. Parvaz is also interested in studying brain processes in adolescents experimenting with illicit drugs to gain insight into why some occasionally drug-using youth become addicted to drugs while others do not. 

An extended bibliography of Dr. Parvaz’s work is available here.

Rachel Rabin, PhD
Rachel Rabin, PhD is a postdoctoral fellow at NARC. She received her Master’s and PhD degrees in Medical Science at the University of Toronto, where her research focused on the cognitive neuroscience of addictions and comorbid psychiatric illnesses. More specifically, her graduate projects investigated the clinical and neurocognitive effects of chronic cannabis use in patients with schizophrenia using both cross-sectional and longitudinal designs. Currently, Dr. Rabin is interested in employing neuroimaging techniques to foster a better understanding of how environmental, behavioral, and cognitive factors affect craving and relapse in cocaine using individuals. In addition, she is interested in advancing potential pharmacotherapies that would facilitate abstinence and improve treatment outcomes in those suffering from addictive disorders. Dr. Rabin is the recipient of a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Postdoctoral Fellowship. 

Pias Malaker, BS
A recent graduate from the Biomedical Engineering program at Stony Brook University, Pias works with the NARC group as a Data Entry Specialist, responsible for database management and development. Pias intends to pursue his medical degree to become a surgeon.

We are looking for volunteers to participate in our research efforts. We need the following:

Study Participants. We seek current or past cocaine/crack users between the ages of 18 and 60 as well as people with difficulties controlling anger (ages 18 to 45). We need people who are in good health. Confidentiality maintained. Please contact narc@mssm.edu or 347-443-2395 for more information.

Volunteer Research Assistant. We are looking for current undergraduates or recent graduates to fill volunteer research assistant positions. We need motivated, detail-oriented people with strong communication skills. Candidates must be available a minimum of 16 hours a week during weekdays, regular working hours, for a full year. Research Assistants help with all aspects of the research process including performing neuroimaging and neuropsychological procedures, conducting data analysis and management, and recruiting participants. Please send your resume, transcript, semester and summer availability, and earliest start date to narc@mssm.edu. If we are able to match your interest with a current research opportunity, we will contact you for an interview. We require letters of recommendation before conducting interviews.

We are also seeking candidates for a funded Graduate Fellowship in Social Work and Neuroimaging, provided by a join collaboration of the Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health and the Freidman Brain Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Graduate students (PhD or MSW) who are interested in a research dissertation that will center on translational investigation are encouraged to apply (preference will be given to individuals who have advanced to candidacy; successful completion of course requirements). The primary mentorship for this fellowship will be provided by Dr. Keren Bachi, LCSW. Interested applicants should send a cover letter, CV, and reference letter to: keren.bachi@mssm.edu.