Erin Dowd

I am a PGY-4 in the research concentration program of the MGH/McLean psychiatry residency. I’m originally from Massachusetts and attended Cornell University as an undergraduate, where I studied biology and philosophy. After graduating, I worked as a research assistant with Martha Shenton at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, conducting studies of structural neuroimaging in schizophrenia. I went on to complete an MD and PhD at Washington University in St. Louis. In my graduate work with Dr. Deanna Barch, I used functional neuroimaging techniques to examine reward processing and reinforcement learning in schizophrenia, and their relationships to clinical symptoms of anhedonia and amotivation. I also developed an interest in the schizophrenia prodrome, and participated in clinical evaluations of adolescents at risk for psychosis as part of the First Contact Assessment Service.

During residency, my clinical experiences have deepened my curiosity about the role of reward processing abnormalities in the development of psychopathology, particularly in mood and psychotic disorders. During my PGY4 year, I have put together a program of study that allows me to pursue these interests on both clinical and research fronts. As chief resident of the Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorders unit at McLean, I am involved in guiding PGY2 residents through the acute treatment of inpatients with psychotic and affective disorders, as well as gaining some teaching and administrative experience. I am also working with McLean On Track, an interdisciplinary outpatient program specializing in early intervention and functional recovery in young adults with first episode psychosis. From a research standpoint, I am currently working with Dr. Daniel Dillon and Dr. Diego Pizzagalli in the Center for Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Research at McLean, using a combination of functional neuroimaging and computational modeling techniques to examine reinforcement learning in depression. I am also pursuing collaborations within the Psychotic Disorders Division at McLean, with the goal of asking cross-diagnostic questions about anhedonia and motivational deficits in affective and psychotic disorders.

Outside work, I enjoy taking ballet and modern dance classes -- Boston has a thriving community of recreational dancers, and I’ve never had trouble finding drop-in classes that fit into my schedule! I also enjoy working on my Victorian-era home and spending time outdoors with my dog.


Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, M.D., Ph.D., 2014

Cornell University, B.A., 2003


Anticevic A, Van Snellenberg JX, Cohen RE, Repovs G, Dowd EC, Barch DM. Amygdala Recruitment in Schizophrenia in Response to Aversive Emotional Material: A Meta-analysis of Neuroimaging Studies. Schizophrenia Bulletin. 2012 May; 38(3): 608-621. Cited in PubMed; PMID: 21123853.

Barch DM, Dowd EC. Goal representations and motivational drive in schizophrenia: the role of prefrontal-striatal interactions. Schizophrenia Bulletin. 2010 Sep; 36(5): 919-934. Cited in PubMed; PMID: 20566491.

Connor E, Sakamoto M, Fujikawa K, Law T, Rifai N. Measurement of Whole Blood Sirolimus by an HPLC Assay Using Solid-Phase Extraction and UV Detection. Therapeutic Drug Monitoring. 2002 Dec; 24(6): 751-756. Cited in PubMed; PMID: 12451293.

Dickey CC, McCarley RW, Xu ML, Seidman LJ, Voglmaier MM, Niznikiewicz MA, Connor E, Shenton ME. MRI Abnormalities of the hippocampus and cavum septi pellucidi in females with schizotypal personality disorder. Schizophrenia Research. 2007 Jan; 89(103): 49-58. Cited in PubMed; PMID: 17027236.

Dowd EC, Barch DM. Anhedonia and emotional experience in schizophrenia: neural and behavioral indicators. Biological Psychiatry. 2010 May; 7(10): 902-911. Cited in PubMed; PMID: 20004364.

Dowd EC, Barch DM. Pavlovian reward prediction and receipt in schizophrenia: Relationship to anhedonia. PLOS One. 2012 May; 7(5): e35622. Cited in PubMed; PMID: 22574121.

Kubicki M, Niznikiewicz M, Connor E, Ungar L, Nestor PG, Bouix S, Dreusicke M, Kikinis R, McCarley RW, Shenton ME. Relationship Between White Matter Integrity, Attention, and Memory in Schizophrenia: A Diffusion Tensor Imaging Study. Brain, Imaging, and Behavior. 2009 Jun; 3(2): 191-201. Cited in PubMed; PMID: 20556231.

Kubicki M, Park HJ, Westin CF, Nestor PG, Mulkern RV, Maier SE, Niznikiewicz M, Connor EE, Levitt JJ, Frumin M, Kikinis R, Jolesz FA, McCarley RW, Shenton ME. DTI and MTR abnormalities in schizophrenia: Analysis of white matter integrity. Neuroimage. 2005 Jul; 26(4): 1109-1118. Cited in PubMed; PMID: 15878290.

Rosenberger G, Kubicki M, Nestor PG, Connor E, Bushell GB, Markant D, Niznikiewicz M, Westin CF, Kikinis R, Saykin AJ, McCarley RW, Shenton ME. Age-related deficits in fronto-temporal connections in schizophrenia: A diffusion tensor imaging study. Schizophrenia Research. 2008 Jul; 102(1-3): 181-188. Cited in PubMed; PMID:

Peer Reviewed Book Chapter

Anticevic, A., Dowd, E. C., & Barch, D. M.. (2013). Cognitive and Motivational Neuroscience of Psychotic Disorders. In
D. S. Charndy, E. F. Nestler, P. Sklar, & J. D. Buxbaum (Ed.), Neurobiology of Mental Illness, Fourth Edition (pp. In
Press). Oxford, UK, : Oxford University Press


Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards for Individual Predoctoral MD/PhD Fellows 2010-2013

National Science Foundation IGERT (Integrative Graduate and Research Training) fellowship, 2008-2009

Travel Award, American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 2010