Research Excellence During Residency and Beyond
Posted: May 26th, 2015
Welcome to the Newly Matched Class of 2019!
Posted: March 20th, 2015
It’s Not All Work During Residency
Posted: March 10th, 2015
While the MGH/McLean Psychiatry Residency program provides a rigorous training environment, we make sure our residents have time to relax and explore our historic city. Click here to find out what our residents and faculty enjoy most about living in Boston.Click here for the complete set of MGH/McLean Psychiatry Residency videos.
Posted: January 21st, 2015
Ensuring people with mental health issues receive proper support and treatment is not just an American problem, it is an international problem. The Global Psychiatry Program at MGH uses a bidirectional, culturally sensitive approach to build capacity, conduct research, and provide technical assistance to reduce the tremendous burden that psychiatric-related and neurological diseases present worldwide. Our residents have the opportunity to work within the Global Psychiatry program to achieve these goals. Click here to watch a video overview the Global Psychiatry Program at MGH/McLean. Or visit their website here.
Giving our Residents the Expertise to Succeed
Posted: January 21st, 2015
The MGH/McLean Psychiatry Residency's first priority is to ensure our graduates are excellent clinicians trained in a variety treatment of modalities. As such, we offer residents the opportunity to receive additional instruction in psychodynamic psychotherapy through the Program in Psychodynamics or PiP. Click here to find out more about the PiP Program.
Helping in the Community
Posted: January 9th, 2015
Working collaboratively with MGH community health centers and community health improvement activities, the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, and several independent community mental health and health centers, the MGH Division of Public and Community Psychiatry harnesses the depth and breadth of resources at MGH and in the community to provide excellence in clinical care, teaching, and research for underserved and vulnerable populations with serious mental illness. The MGH/McLean Psychiatry Residency's Public and Community Psychiatry Program teaches residents to apply patient-centered, recovery-oriented, and strength-based treatment approaches to healthcare service delivery within the various inter-disciplinary settings. Click here to watch the overview video of the Public and Community Psychiatry Program.
Video: Psychiatric Care for All Ages
Posted: December 30th, 2014
Expanding the Frontier of Psychiatry
Posted: December 9th, 2014
While all residents that attend MGH/McLean receive stellar clinical training, we also strive to foster our residents' research interests. Whether they are interested in clinical, translational, or basic research, there is a diverse set of labs to meet their interests. This installment of our weekly video series outlines the wealth of resources available to aspiring researchers at MGH and McLean. Click here to watch the Research During Residency video.
Creating a Strong Foundation
Posted: December 2nd, 2014
MGH/McLean strives to create clinicians who are capable of treating any patient presentation. The third video in our nine part series explores the varied clinical rotations that residents experience while training here. Click on the picture above to watch the video.
Can Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder be treated with Xenon Gas?
Posted: November 30th, 2014
McLean Hospital researchers are reporting that xenon gas, used in humans for anesthesia and diagnostic imaging, has the potential to be a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other memory-related disorders.
“In our study, we found that xenon gas has the capability of reducing memories of traumatic events,” said Edward G. Meloni, PhD, assistant psychologist at McLean Hospital and an assistant professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “It’s an exciting breakthrough, as this has the potential to be a new treatment for individuals suffering from PTSD.”
In the study, published in the a recent issue of PLOS ONE, Meloni, and Marc J. Kaufman, PhD, director of the McLean Hospital Translational Imaging Laboratory, examined whether a low concentration of xenon gas could interfere with a process called reconsolidation – a state in which reactivated memories become susceptible to modification. "We know from previous research that each time an emotional memory is recalled, the brain actually restores it as if it were a new memory. With this knowledge, we decided to see whether we could alter the process by introducing xenon gas immediately after a fear memory was reactivated,” explained Meloni.(more…)
It’s the People that Make MGH/McLean a Great Place to Train
Posted: November 25th, 2014
While informative, it is difficult for any program's website does not give you a good feel for the culture of the program. That's why we created the second video in our nine part series "It's the People." This video illustrates the culture of both the residents and faculty here at MGH/McLean. Click on the picture above to watch view the video.
A New Video Series
Posted: November 18th, 2014
Here at MGH/McLean, we understand that perusing the wealth of information listed on our website can be somewhat overwhelming and even tiresome at times. Well fear no more, we have created 9 new videos to provide an overview of the program's many components. Each video will be released here over the coming weeks, beginning with a warm welcome from our program directors and faculty (featured above).
Remember to check back every Tuesday to view the latest video release! If you just can't wait, click here to view all of the new MGH/McLean Psychiatry Residency Program videos.
Novel Treatment of Depression Shows Immediate Results
Posted: November 1st, 2014
Michael Rohan, a physicist at McLean Hospital’s Brain Imaging Center, demonstrated the low-field magnetic stimulation (LFMS) device he developed.
Individuals with major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder who receive low-field magnetic stimulation (LFMS) show immediate and substantial mood improvement, McLean Hospital researchers report in the Aug. 1 issue of Biological Psychiatry.
“LFMS is unlike any current treatment. It uses magnetic fields that are a fraction of the strength but at a higher frequency than the electromagnetic fields used in TMS [transcranial magnetic stimulation] and ECT [electroconvulsive therapy],” explained first author Harvard Medical School.
According to Rohan, although other brain stimulation treatments like ECT and TMS are often effective for the treatment of depression, they typically take longer to impact mood, and ECT is associated with side effects such as memory loss. Similarly, while antidepressant medications can be highly effective for treating depression, it can take between four to six weeks before mood changes are detected.
“Importantly, LFMS appears to have an immediate effect on mood and thus has the potential to provide relief in emergency situations,” explained Rohan, who first reported the potential use of LFMS to treat depression in a groundbreaking study in 2004. “In addition to providing quick relief from symptoms, the other exciting piece about LFMS is that no side effects have been observed.”(more…)
Today is National Depression Screening Day
Posted: October 9th, 2014
National Depression Screening Day has been taking place since 1991 and is designed to screen those who may be suffering from depression but not know it. Participants fill out an anonymous questionnaire and, depending on their answers, are referred to mental health professionals for follow-up.
The screenings are given at colleges, workplaces, community-based organizations and military installations and will be available on line at the organization’s special web site, www.HelpYourselfHelpOthers.org. The website also lists local sites where screenings will be given.
A study done in 2009 showed that depression screenings are effective in connecting at-risk individuals with treatment. It showed that 55 percent of those who completed the screening online and who agreed to take part in a follow-up survey sought depression treatment within three months.
While McLean has held screening events in the past, this is the first time the hospital will be co-sponsoring the national event and will publicizing it via social media, including Facebook and Twitter.
The questionnaire allows individuals to screen themselves, in an anonymous way, for mood and anxiety disorders, eating disorders and alcohol use disorders. The online screenings provide an assessment of the user’s mental health, information on whether the user’s results are consistent with a mental health disorder, an overview of signs and symptoms of treatable disorders and help getting access to local treatment options.
More than 700 colleges and over 300 community-based organizations participate, resulting in more than 120,000 screenings each year.
If you or a loved one is experiencing suicidal thoughts, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.TALK (8255) or a mental health professional.
Article content sourced from a McLean Hospital press release. Image source: Recovery Friendly Taos.
A New Clue into the Genetic Contribution to Addiction
Posted: September 30th, 2014
A gene essential for normal brain development, and also linked to autism spectrum disorders, plays a critical role in addiction-related behaviors, according to Harvard Medical School investigators at McLean Hospital.
“Chronic exposure to drugs of abuse causes changes in the brain that could underlie the transition from casual drug use to addiction. By discovering the brain molecules that control the development of drug addiction, we hope to identify new treatment approaches,” Cowan said.
The Cowan lab team, led by Laura Smith, HMS research fellow in psychiatry at McLean, used animal models to show that the fragile X mental retardation protein, or FMRP, plays a critical role in the development of addiction-related behaviors.
[The findings were published in the latest issue of the neuroscience journal Neuron. (more…)
McLean’s President Honored for Outstanding Mentoring and Leadership
Posted: September 15th, 2014
Scott Rauch, M.D., President and Psychiatrist in chief of McLean Hospital
The University of Cincinnati College of Medicine recently awarded the John Shaw Billings, MD, Alumni Leadership Award to Scott L. Rauch, MD, president and psychiatrist in chief of McLean Hospital. The Billings Award is given annually to recognize an alumnus for a career of extraordinary leadership and contributions to medical progress. Recipients also deliver the commencement address at the medical school’s annual Honors Day.
"Dr. Rauch is a highly respected investigator and very quickly became a leader in his field,” said University of Cincinnati College of Medicine Dean Thomas Boat. "His success opened the door to leadership opportunities for him at the top psychiatric hospital. He is influential in his field and obviously one of the leading clinicians and investigators in the country.
Rauch also recently received the 2014 Research Mentorship Award, an award jointly sponsored by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and the American Association of Chairs of Departments of Psychiatry (AACDP). The award is given in recognition of substantial and formative contributions to the mentoring of students and residents throughout a distinguished career in psychiatric research, and honors an academic psychiatrist who has fostered the pursuit of student research in a significant manner within his/her university department. The award was presented to Rauch in May at the APA Annual Meeting in New York.
"I take pride in the positive impact I feel that I have had,” said Rauch. "While there is nothing more gratifying than helping an individual patient or family, as my career has progressed, my roles have evolved to try and be helpful through the multiplying effects of advancing science through research, mentoring others, and by developing programs, or most recently implementing a vision for McLean Hospital. Ultimately, I have been most fulfilled by seeing people and programs grow, especially when I have felt some responsibility for those positive changes.”
Dr. Rauch received his undergraduate degree with honors in Neuroscience from Amherst College and attended medical school at the University of Cincinnati. He completed his residency training in Psychiatry as well as a Radiology Research Fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). Dr. Rauch served for many years as Associate Chief of Psychiatry for Neuroscience Research at MGH, where he was the founding Director of the Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program and the MGH Division of Psychiatric Neuroscience Research and Neurotherapeutics.
Currently, Dr. Rauch is President and Psychiatrist in Chief of McLean Hospital, Chair of Partners Psychiatry and Mental Health, and holds the Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Endowed Chair of Psychiatry at McLean. He also holds an appointment as Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Rauch has contributed over 350 publications to the scientific literature and serves on the editorial boards of several journals. He has received numerous honors, including the 2004 Joel Elkes Award for outstanding contributions in translational research within psychiatry.
Content sourced from a McLean Hospital press release by Jenna Brown.
New Program for Residents Interested in Medical Education
Posted: August 21st, 2014
We are excited to announce a brand new program for residents interested in medical education – The Clinician Educator Program, or CEP.
The mission of this program is to prepare residents for careers as clinician educators by offering additional training and mentorship in this area, thus helping residents develop advanced teaching skills, and also pursue academic scholarship in the field of medical education.
The program consists of several components:
- Monthly core didactics (on topics related to teaching skills, educational research, and career development)
- Additional opportunities to teach junior residents or medical students (with the option to receive observation and feedback on their teaching)
- CEP mentor, with whom the resident will meet regularly, and will provide guidance on teaching, educational projects, and career development
- Educational project, which the resident will develop and carry out over the course of their PGY3-4 years
- Quarterly CEP Dinners, hosted at faculty homes, for residents to present and discuss their educational pursuits with colleagues
- Encouraged attendance at any number of local and national medical education-related events, seminars, conferences etc, with travel awards available to support residents presenting their work at national meetings
Click here for a more detailed description of the program components and instructions for how to apply. Feel free to contact the CEP Co-Directors, Heather Vestal, M.D., M.H.S., and Joseph Stoklosa, M.D., with any questions.
Using Advances in Genomics and Molecular Biology to Untangle the Brain
Posted: August 1st, 2014
As part of a new WBUR's new WBUR weekly feature Brain Matters, Carey Goldberg interviewed Dr. Steve Hyman. Dr. Hyman, who currently serves as the Director of the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute explained the current challenges faced by Neuroscientests and the new methodologies which promise to solve them.
Goldberg: The Obama BRAIN initiative. We’ve had a ‘decade of the brain’ before, in the 1990s —
Dr.Hyman: It accomplished nothing. Because it was a media blitz, it wasn’t based on new science.
Goldberg: So — Why this? Why now? What’s different?
Dr. Hyman: Part of the growing public interest in the brain, and certainly much media attention, is a little bit unfortunate because it focuses on people applying tools, such as brain imaging, in ways that are untutored and underpowered but yield interesting — if not really scientifically valid — ideas about say, why a certain person is liberal or conservative, or why a certain person takes risks or is very self-protective. A subset of those may be scientifically addressable questions, but we’re a long way from understanding them deeply. Nonetheless they’re irresistible to the public and then of course it’s given rise to a new generation of debunkers — fair enough. So maybe we can set aside this false interest, this prurient interest in the brain and focus on the serious matters at hand.
The bottom line is the brain is well recognized to be the linchpin of being human in the sense that it is the substrate of thought, emotion, control of behavior, and therefore, undergirds our life trajectories, our actions, our morality. And when the brain gets sick in any way we realize that it exacts an extraordinarily severe toll on the sufferer, on families, on society. Just think about Alzheimer’s disease, heroin addiction, major depression, schizophrenia, autism, intellectual disability — these are common conditions in which people can no longer exert reliable, effective agency on their own behalf and therefore society often has to step in for them at great cost and often really great pain.
Tragically, for the longest time there wasn’t so much we could do about it. Using medications that were really discovered by luck, by prepared serendipity; using, in more recent years, the few psychotherapies, especially Cognitive Behavioral Therapies, which have been empirically tested, we have been able to help a lot of people manage their symptoms, in some cases to become better stoics. With imaging technologies we began some decades ago — though at really still very relatively poor resolution — to get spatial maps of what’s happening in the brain. But we were really stymied in terms of getting a deeper understanding, a better picture, for several reasons:...
For the full WBUR interview and links to the full Brain Matters series, click here.
Ahead of the Pack
Posted: July 16th, 2014
In their Annual “America’s Best Hospitals” list, U.S. News & World Report MGH was ranked as the top hospital for psychiatry in the U.S., a distinction it has earned 17 times in the last 19 years. McLean was ranked as the top freestanding psychiatric hospital in the country , a distinction it has held for 18 years, and fourth overall. For the complete list please see the U.S. News & World Report website here.
McLean Hospital Hosts Star-Studded Gala Honoring Jane Fonda
Posted: June 25th, 2014
Fonda with McLean President and Psychiatrist in Chief Scott Rauch, MD (left), and director David O. Russell (right).
McLean Hospital recently hosted a gala event to honor actress, author and mental health advocate Jane Fonda for her exceptional efforts to educate the public about mental health issues.
Director David O. Russell, who was honored by the hospital last year, actress Catherine Keener and actress/comedian Maya Rudolph, were among the 500 guests to show support for Fonda as she was presented with the coveted McLean Award –the hospital’s highest honor--at the InterContinental Hotel in Boston on Friday, June 20.
“I am grateful for the compassion that McLean brings to its work,” said Fonda, who eloquently and openly spoke about her mother’s suicide when Jane was just 12 years old and about her own struggle with an eating disorder.
In fitting Hollywood fashion, the evening concluded with a surprise ending when McLean President and Psychiatrist in Chief Scott L. Rauch and Board Chairman David S. Barlow presented Fonda with a portrait created by world-renowned Brazilian neo-pop artist Romero Britto.(more…)
June Means More Than Just Warmer Weather to MGH/McLean Residents
Posted: June 17th, 2014
June of every year is a significant time for PGY4 residents, and not just because it brings warmer weather. June is the time when PGY4 residents give their Senior Talk, a brief presentation what each resident has learned during their residency before the start their post residency careers. The subject of each talk varies, from an exploration of how shame affects both the patient and the psychiatrist to how creating a genetically modified mouse can help further our understanding of eating disorders. For a complete list of the speakers and their topics, please refer to the bottom of the article.
Additionally, each June the MGH/McLean recognizes some of our residents for their outstanding work in the clinic as well as in the lab. Please see below for the full list of award recipients.
- Hackett Award – Jennifer Gatchel, MD, PhD
- Joyce and Richard Tedlow Award – Rachel Ross, MD, PhD
- Paul Howard Award – Stephanie Cincotta, MD
- Ed Messner Award – Heather Vestal, MD, MHS
- Anne Alonso Award – Kathryn Tompkins, MD
- Mel Kayce Award – Christina Brezing, MD
- Laughlin Award – Alex Keuroghlian, MD, MSc
- Outstanding Contribution to Neuroscience Award – Evan Macosko, MD, PhD
TMS: A Safe, Effective, and Non-invasive Treatment for Depression
Posted: June 4th, 2014
Joan Camprodon, MD, MPH, PhD (Class of 2012), demonstrates the use of TMS on Amanda Arulpragasam, MGH Research Assistant
For patients suffering from depression, the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Psychiatry now offers another treatment option – a new clinic based in Charlestown that uses transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). The clinic is part of a broader effort that includes a research enterprise program, both led by Joan Camprodon, MD, MPH, PhD, (Class of 2012) director of the Laboratory for Neuropsychiatry and Neuromodulation at Mass General. Dr. Camprodon’s team aims to understand how the brain’s structure and function affect disease and how interventions such as TMS can change the mechanisms that contribute to disease.
During a TMS procedure, focused magnetic impulses are directed to the brain. The electrical currents produced stimulate nerve cells involved in mood regulation that may be underactive in diseases such as depression. By restoring the equilibrium, TMS helps reset this imbalance of chemicals. from a diseased brain to a healthy one.(more…)
New Research Links Clinician-Patient Relationship with Treatment Outcomes
Posted: May 9th, 2014
A meta-analysis of studies that investigated measures designed to improve health professionals’ interactions with patients confirms that such efforts can produce health effects just as beneficial as taking a daily aspirin to prevent heart attack. In contrast to previous such reviews, the current report from the Empathy and Relational Science Program at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) only included randomized, controlled trials with more reliable results than those included in earlier studies. While it has long been believed that a good patient-clinician relationship can improve health outcomes, objective evidence to support that belief has been hard to come by.
“Although the effect we found was small, this is the first analysis of the combined results of previous studies to show that relationship factors really do make a difference in patients’ health outcomes,” says Helen Riess, MD, (pictured above) Director of the Empathy and Relational Science Program in the MGH Department of Psychiatry, senior author of the report in the open-access journal PLOS ONE.(more…)
MGH/McLean Alumni and Program Faculty Receives HMS Educator Award
Posted: April 11th, 2014
The Jonathan F. Borus Outstanding Early Career Educator Award in medical student education has been awarded since 2011 to a junior faculty member at Harvard Medical School who has demonstrated exceptional promise, initiative and commitment in the area of psychiatric education. The award is named in honor of Jonathan F. Borus MD, the Stanley Cobb Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry, Emeritus Chair of Psychiatry at the Brigham and Women’s and Faulkner Hospitals, Director of Medical Education at BWH and Co-Chair of the Partners Education Committee, who has exerted a major and lasting impact on psychiatric undergraduate and graduate education. In addition to being a master educator and educational leader, Borus is known widely for his generous mentorship and outspoken advocacy for generations of trainees who themselves have made important contributions to medical education.
Joseph Stoklosa (pictured above, Class of 2011), psychiatrist in charge of McLean’s Psychotic Disorders Unit, has been selected by the Harvard Medical School (HMS) Psychiatry Executive Committee as the 2014 co-recipient of the Jonathan F. Borus Early Outstanding Early Educator Award.(more…)
Unraveling the Genetic Factors Behind Schizophrenia
Posted: March 5th, 2014
Oligodendrocytes (green) wrap electrical insulation called myelin around axons (purple). Image courtesy of Alan Hoofring, Medical Arts Design Section, NIH.
Schizophrenia is one of the most disabling of all psychiatric illnesses. Sadly, it affects is about 1% of the global population and often strikes early in life.
Many studies have looked into causes and potential interventions, and it has been long known that genetic factors play a role in determining the risk of developing schizophrenia. However, recent work has shown that there no single gene or small number of genes explains much of the risk for illness. Instead, groups of genes interact to create the illness.
In a new paper published in PLOS ONE (DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0089441), MGH/McLean Adult Psychiatry Residency Program faculty Bruce M. Cohen, MD, PhD, Dost Ongur, MD, PhD (Class of 2004), and Jordan W. Smoller, MD, ScD, report promising evidence on what one of those important groups of genes may be.(more…)
Brain Imaging and Food Addiction
Posted: July 11th, 2013
Harvard researcher David Ludwig has linked low blood glucose levels with high activation of the nucleus accumbens, a brain region specifically involved in reward and craving, known addictive behaviors. Using fMRI analysis, his team found that the glycemic load of foods, not caloric intake, significantly alters brain function, promoting hunger and overeating, behaviors related to substance abuse and dependence.Read the full article on the Harvard Medical School website.
Class of 2017 has Arrived
Posted: July 1st, 2013
Sixteen new residents are gracing the halls of MGH and McLean Hospital. They are excited to begin their journey from medical student to independent clinician with the expert guidance of our faculty and senior residents.
Award-Winning Residents @ MGH/McLean
Posted: July 1st, 2013
In June, 2013, some of our senior residents were honored for their outstanding work:
- Hackett Award – Avi Gerstenblith, MD
- Joyce Tedlow Award – Justin Chen, MD
- Paul Howard Award – Leah Bauer, MD
- Ed Messner Award – Justin Chen, MD
- Anne Alonso Award – Oriana Vesga Lopez, MD
- Mel Kayce Award – Benjamin Herbstman, MD, MHS
- Laughlin Award – John Taylor, M.D., M.B.A.
- Outstanding Contribution to Neuroscience Award – Mike Halassa, MD, PhD
Restoration of 2,500 Year-Old Mummy at MGH
Posted: June 26th, 2013
Padihershef, originally a stonecutter from the Necropolis in Thebes, now resides in the Bulfinch Ether Dome at MGH. In June, 2013, he underwent some protective refurbishing by professional conservators. The process, viewable by the public, corrected salt deposits on his face and wardrobe inaccuracies. MGH received the mummy as a gift from the city of Boston in 1823. The mummy will now remain on display in a custom-made, climate-controlled case.
Silver Linings’ director calls McLean “Gold Standard”
Posted: June 24th, 2013
On Friday, June 21, 2013 McLean Hospital recognized Academy Award-nominated director David O. Russell for his work to raise public awareness of mental illness. Russell toured McLean Hospital, which he called the "gold standard" of mental health care facilities. Russell has personal insight to offer the character development, as his son is diagnosed with bipolar disorder. "There's a whole population of people who need something that is as caring and thoughtful and experienced as McLean is," said Russell.
$12.5 million expansion of McLean Hospital
Posted: June 13th, 2013
The McLean Hospital Admissions Building was built in 1987.
On Wednesday, June 12, 2013 McLean Hospital won approval from the Public Health Council to build a three-story expansion of the Admissions Building on the Belmont campus. This will significantly expand inpatient units, which will enhance care and research in areas such as the psychotic disorders program. In addition, the hospital will expand interpreter services for patients.
Breakthrough system for producing images of brain, nervous system
Posted: May 20th, 2013
"Brainbow," originally developed by researchers at Harvard University in 2007, is getting an upgrade. This system creates colorful images of brain tissue by activating multiple fluorescent proteins in neurons. Brainbow has the resolution to visualize individual neurons, which has enhanced researchers' ability to chart the circuitry of the brain and nervous system.
In 2013 Brainbow is getting significant technical improvements. The colors will be brighter, more variable, more persistent, and therefore more usable. These enhancements will enable researchers to better target certain parts of the brain and visualize the neuronal connections between different regions of the brain.
Read the full article in the Harvard Gazette. Source: Harvard Gazette, Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Faith in treatment; faith in God
Posted: May 9th, 2013
Does religious belief have anything to do with psychiatric treatment outcomes? Recent research by David Rosmarin of McLean Hospital suggests that the level of a patient's belief in God may have influence on the likelihood of treatment response.
By asking 159 patients in a day-treatment program the question "To what extent do you believe in God or a Higher Power?" Rosmarin found that those who answered "Very" or "Moderately" were more likely to respond to treatment than patients who expressed lesser religious belief. This relationship is believed to be mediated by a greater expectancy of treatment success: greater belief in God was correlated to greater belief in credibility of treatment and expectation of treatment efficacy.
Investigating the roots of aggression
Posted: April 24th, 2013
Researchers at Harvard Medical School have identified two pairs of dopaminergic neurons with links to the fly brain's central complex, suggesting that important components of aggression-related behaviors may be processed there."This is the first research to identify single dopaminergic neurons that modulate a complex behavior—aggression—in fruit flies,” said Edward Kravitz, George Packer Berry Professor of Neurobiology at HMS and lead author of the study.
Read the full story here. Source: HMS News, April 18, 2013
HMS Professor George Church on the Brain Activity Map
Posted: February 25th, 2013
George Church, the Robert Winthrop Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, is one of the key researchers behind the next big project in neuroscience: The Brain Activity Map. The project, which has been compared in scope to that of the Human Genome Project, aims to provide scientists with a full map of the brain's functions and connections.
Church sat recently for an interview on the project, its applications, and his own role. The full interview can be found here. Source: HMS News February 20, 2013.
MGH and McLean researchers on marijuana legalization
Posted: January 19th, 2013
A. Edin Evins, MD, Director of Center for Addiction Medicine at MGH and Staci Gruber, PhD, Director of the Cognitive and Clinical Neuroimaging Core at McLean Hospital, were quoted in a recent New York Times article concerning recent changes in the legality of marijuana. Speaking about the potential risks involved in Washington and Colorado's recent legalization of marijuana for public use, Dr. Evins warned that “Before we unleash the powers of the marketplace to woo people to use this addictive substance, we need to better understand who is at risk. Once moneyed interests are involved, this trend will be difficult to reverse."
Dr. Gruber addressed the dangers of marijuana use in teens and young adults, whose brains are still developing. “The frontal cortex is the last part of the brain to come online, and the most important,” said Dr. Gruber. “Early exposure perhaps changes the trajectory of brain development, such that ability to perform complex executive function tasks is compromised.”
The full story, which appeared in the January 8, 2013 edition of the NY Times, is available here.
Novel study reveals lasting positive residual effects from meditation
Posted: November 15th, 2012
A new study has found that participating in an eight-week meditation training program can have measurable effects on how the brain functions even when someone is not actively meditating. In their report in the November issue of Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, investigators at Harvard Medical School-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Boston University (BU), and several other research centers also found differences in those effects based on the specific type of meditation practiced.
“The two different types of meditation training our study participants completed yielded some differences in the response of the amygdala — a part of the brain known for decades to be important for emotion — to images with emotional content,” says Gaëlle Desbordes, a research fellow at the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at MGH and at the BU Center for Computational Neuroscience and Neural Technology, corresponding author of the report. “This is the first time that meditation training has been shown to affect emotional processing in the brain outside of a meditative state.”
Source: Harvard Gazette, November 15, 2012
Read the full story here
Steve Hyman keynotes RCP symposium: “The Future of the Psychiatric Scientist”
Posted: November 14th, 2012
The December 12th event featured talks from leaders in psychiatry and neuroscience research, including a keynote presentation from Steve Hyman, former head of the National Institute for Mental Health, and currently Director of the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT).
A poster session featured work from current RCP residents and allow faculty, residents, and visiting applicants to share their thoughts and experience with the wide ranging possibilities for research in the Boston neuroscience and psychiatric communities.
- 10:30 - 11:00 | Coffee & Pastries
- 11:00 - 11:15 | Introductory remarks – Jerrold Rosenbaum & Scott Rauch
- 11:15 - 11:30 | Overview of the RCP – Justin Baker, Dost Ongur, and John Denninger
- 11:30 - 12:00 | Keynote Presentation – Steve Hyman
- 12:00 - 12:15 | Lunch Buffet
- 12:15 - 01:45 | Selected Scientific Presentations - Faculty
- 01:45 - 02:00 | Closing Remarks - Maurizio Fava & Shelly Greenfield
- 02:00 - 03:00 | Poster Session - Residents of the MGH/McLean RCP
MGH/McLean congratulates new Director of Residency Training
Posted: November 6th, 2012
On November 1, Felicia Smith stepped into her new role as Program Director for the Adult Psychiatry Residency Program.
Felicia, a 2004 graduate of the MGH/McLean residency program, currently serves as Associate Director of the Division of Psychiatry and Medicine and the MGH Psychosomatic Fellowship. She previously performed the role of Associate Residency Training Director for the residency from 2004 to 2007, and became the Director of the Acute Psychiatry Service in 2008. Dr. Smith will continue as the Associate Director of the Division of Psychiatry and Medicine, in addition to fulfilling her new duties with the residency.
Felicia’s appointment, which was announced on October 4, comes as no surprise to many in the residency program. Says MGH Chief of Psychiatry Jerry Rosenbaum, “Felicia is an ideal person to take the residency helm going forward. We could not have been happier to learn that she was enthusiastic about accepting the position.” In a statement to the residency community, McLean Hospital President Scott Rauch also expressed his excitement about the recent announcement. “Felicia is an expert clinician, a master teacher, a respected and admired colleague and leader, and will be a terrific training director.”
Over the past month, Felicia has been working closely with the outgoing Director of Residency Training, Kathy Sanders, who has accepted an appointment as Deputy Commissioner of Mental Health for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. As Felicia takes on this new challenge, please join us in extending a warm welcome and wishing her luck as our new Director of Residency Training!
MGH and McLean remain top-ranked hospitals for psychiatry
Posted: July 23rd, 2012
Mass General was ranked the #1 hospital in the nation, according to the annual U.S. News & World Report “America’s Best Hospitals” list released Tuesday, a first for the hospital in the 22-year history of the survey. McLean Hospital received its highest ranking since 1994, placing second among all psychiatric services nationwide. McLean also continues to be ranked as the nation’s top free-standing psychiatric hospital—a distinction it has held for more than a decade. Joining McLean at the top of this year’s list are John’s Hopkins at number one and MassGeneral at number three.
“Each year we have been both honored and humbled to be recognized among the nation’s highest achieving hospitals, and this year it is especially gratifying to be ranked number one,” said Peter L. Slavin, MD, MGH president.
Controlling sleep spindles with light; K99/R00 awarded
Posted: November 13th, 2011
Michael Halassa, Class of 2013, recently published a first author paper in Nature Neuroscience, describing work he carried out at MIT in the lab of Christopher Moore, now at Brown University. By selective optical control of thalamic activity, Mike and colleagues demonstrated that sleep spindles can be causally generated with millisecond precision to understand their role in physiology and behavior. The work was carried out while Mike was a PGY1 and PGY2 in the Research Concentration Program.
Mike was also recently awarded a NIH pathway to independence career award (K99/R00) through the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the first time such an award has been obtained by a current MGH/McLean resident.
Fostering research education and mentorship during residency
Posted: October 13th, 2011
In Spring 2011, the residency program was awarded an Institutional Research Education Grant (R25) from the National Institute for Mental Health. Under the leadership of Maurizio Fava MD and Shelly Greenfield MD, MPH and with support from over fifty junior and senior research faculty across our two campuses, this five-year, $250K education grant is designed to foster research training and mentorship for all residents in our program. In addition, the grant allows the residency to further develop the Research Concentration Program, a program established in 2007 to optimize clinical and research training for residents with substantial research experience who plan to embark on psychiatric research careers. John Denninger, MD, PhD, and Dost Ongur, MD, PhD will serve as co-director of the RCP, with recent graduate Justin Baker MD, PhD, serving as Associate Director.Pictured, from left: John Denninger, Co-Director of the RCP; Shelly Greenfield, co-PI; Maurizio Fava, co-PI; Kathy Sanders, Training Director; Justin Baker, Associate Director of the RCP; Joy Littlefield.
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