Leadership Changes in the Division of Basic Neuroscience

Posted: August 10th, 2015

Left: Dr. William Carlezon Ph.D.
Right: Dr. Christopher Cowan Ph.D.

In July 2015 Dr. Joseph Coyle, M.D., stepped down from the role of Chief of the Division of Basic Neuroscience, and has been succeeded by Dr. William Carlezon, Ph.D. The Division of Basic Neuroscience, established in 2011, provides crucial support and mentorship to young scientists as well as providing an environment to establish leaders in psychiatric research. The Division also fosters collaboration between researchers at McLean and other research institutions. Dr. Carlezon will continue the exceptional work being done within the Department prioritizing teamwork and efficiency, with specific plans to streamline the grant application process moving forward.

“While Dr. Coyle is leaving big shoes to fill, I can think of no one better suited to take the helm than Dr. Carlezon, who has served as Assistant Chief of the Division for the past 17 months,” remarked McLean President and Psychiatrist in Chief Scott L. Rauch, MD. “Dr. Carlezon is widely respected for his influential body of work and will provide strong leadership as he sets priorities for distribution of divisional resources and facilitates broader collaborations and partnerships among investigators within and beyond McLean. Through his energy, enthusiasm and generative style, Dr. Carlezon is poised to elevate and enhance the work being conducted within McLean’s Division of Basic Neuroscience.”

Dr. Christopher Cowan, Director of the Integrative Neurobiology Laboratory, has been appointed to the new role of Director of Education for the Division of Basic Neuroscience. As the Director of Education, Dr. Cowan will initiate and supervisor new trainings and educational opportunities within the Division of Basic Neuroscience. Dr. Cowan aims to create interactive training modules for the general neuroscience community at McLean, and to generate more funding opportunities for predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees.

“While a big part of this role involves facilitating research training opportunities at McLean, another important aspect is the implementation of a long-range plan for the Basic Neuroscience Division,” said Dr. Cowan. “A strong focus on innovative training opportunities will enable us to grow and maintain our position as a leading institution for mental health basic research and to ensure that our trainees are equipped to be the future leaders in this exciting field of research.”

See original article in the July 14th issue of McLean News

Can Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder be treated with Xenon Gas?

Posted: November 30th, 2014

Image source:TheHealthyMind.com

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.


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.

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.


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.


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