McLean’s President Announces New Chief Scientific Officer

Posted: August 18th, 2015


It is my pleasure to welcome Kerry J. Ressler, MD, PhD, to the McLean community. Dr. Ressler will assume the roles of Chief Scientific Officer and Chief of the Depression and Anxiety Disorders Division, effective August 1, 2015. He will also hold the Patricia and James Poitras Endowed Chair in Psychiatry at McLean Hospital, thanks to a generous gift from longtime hospital supporters Patricia and James Poitras.

As McLean’s Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Ressler will oversee the hospital’s comprehensive research enterprise, enhancing the breadth and depth of the scientific portfolio, promoting research collaborations, and advancing a vision for improved lab facilities. As McLean’s inaugural Chief of the Depression and Anxiety Disorders Division, he will work to improve communication across clinical operations, while working with researchers with an interest in depression and anxiety to identify greater opportunities to collaborate with their colleagues throughout the hospital and across translational and clinical research programs. A formal Division launch event will be planned for the fall.

Dr. Ressler, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, comes to Belmont from the Emory University School of Medicine and Yerkes Research Center in Atlanta where, since 2001, he has been investigating the molecular and cellular mechanisms of fear learning and the process of extinction of fear. The primary objective of his work is to use the power of molecular genetics to understand the molecular biology, neural circuitry and behavioral biology of fear and recovery from fear in animal models and human patients.

Also a practicing psychiatrist, Dr. Ressler’s primary interest is in translational and clinical research on fear-related psychiatric disorders, with a focus on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). His hope is that understanding how fear works in the mammalian brain in a laboratory setting will someday translate into improved treatment and prevention for disorders such as PTSD, phobias, panic and other anxiety disorders.

In addition to Dr. Ressler’s clinical and research work, his academic qualifications are broad, numerous and well recognized. He has more than 200 peer-reviewed publications, including a number of articles in high-profile journals including Nature, Cell, Nature Neuroscience, Neuron, and the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Dr. Ressler is President-Elect of the Society for Biological Psychiatry and Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. He is also a member of the Institute of Medicine, a Fellow of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, and a member of the Board of Scientific Counselors for the National Institute of Mental Health. He has served on numerous NIH study sections and serves on the editorial boards of several journals, including Biological Psychiatry and Neuropsychopharmacology, and Depression and Anxiety.

Dr. Ressler holds a degree in molecular biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and earned his PhD in neuroscience from Harvard University and his medical degree from Harvard Medical School. He completed his residency training at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. As a faculty member at Emory, he was previously Interim Director of the Emory Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), a member of the Executive Committee of the Emory Neuroscience Graduate Program, and Director of the Emory Psychiatry Residency Research Program.

As we welcome Dr. Ressler, I would also like to take a moment to thank Joseph Coyle, MD, for serving as our first CSO. His leadership has provided critical support and mentorship for young researchers and has helped us to recruit and retain future generations of leaders in the field. Although he is stepping down as CSO, Dr. Coyle will continue to be an active member of our research community, leading the Molecular Psychiatry Research Laboratory and holding the Eben S. Draper Chair in Psychiatry and Neuroscience at Harvard Medical School.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Ressler to McLean and thanking Dr. Coyle for his leadership within our research community. A welcome reception for Dr. Ressler will be planned for this fall.

Scott L. Rauch, MD


Dr. Rauch's letter was originally published in the August 3rd edition of the McLean News

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.


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.


Welcome to the Newly Matched Class of 2018!

Posted: March 21st, 2014

The seventeen new residents, with one joining the Class of 2017 as a PGY2, will arrive on June 5th, representing a diverse set of backgrounds and interests.


Unraveling the Genetic Factors Behind Schizophrenia

Posted: March 5th, 2014

Image courtesy of Alan Hoofring, Medical Arts Design Section, NIH

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.


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!

Class of 2012 graduates

Posted: June 24th, 2012

The special occasion was celebrated at the Harvard Club on Saturday June 16th. The sixteen graduating residents of the MGH/McLean Adult Psychiatry Class of 2012, including the first three graduates of the Research Concentration Program, will move on to the next stage of their careers, transitioning to a broad array of exciting positions as psychiatry fellows, attendings, researchers, and outpatient practitioners.

All but one resident of the graduating class has elected to remain within the MGH and McLean communities following residency (see below). Amelia Dubovsky, who served as the 2011-2012 MGH Chief Resident, will be sorely missed as she moves on to a psychosomatics fellowship in Seattle, Washington.

Best of luck to all! We will follow your careers with pride and enthusiasm!

Immediate post-graduate plans of the MGH / McLean Class of 2012
  • Karen Adler, M.D. Attending Psychiatrist, Women’s Treatment Program at Hill Center, Family Therapist for Borderline Center, McLean
  • Claire Brickell, M.D. MGH/McLean Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship
  • Hannah Brown, M.D. MGH Schizophrenia Fellowship
  • Argyro Caminis, M.D., M.P.H. Attending Psychiatrist, Short Term Unit, McLean
  • Joan Camprodon, M.D., Ph.D. Director, Laboratory for Neuropsychiatry & Neuromodulation at MGH Director of Translational Research, Division of Neurotherapeutics at MGH; Neuropsychiatry & Behavioral Neurology Fellowship at MGH; Dupont -Warren Fellowship Award, MGH
  • Nicole Christian, M.D. MGH/McLean Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship
  • Jeffrey DeVido, M.D., M.T.S. Partners Healthcare Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship
  • Amelia Dubovsky, M.D. Psychosomatics Fellowship, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
  • Sharmin Ghaznavi, M.D., Ph.D. Dupont-Warren Fellowship Award; MGH Bipolar Clinical and Research Program; Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute Fellowship, Newton, MA
  • Ellen House, M.D. MGH/McLean Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship
  • Kelly Irwin, M.D. Attending Psychiatrist, MGH Cancer Center in Psychiatric Oncology and MGH Schizophrenia Program
  • William Ruzicka, M.D., Ph.D. Attending Psychiatrist, McLean; Dupont-Warren Fellowship Award; APA/Pfizer MD/PhD Psychiatric Research Fellowship, McLean
  • Brian Schulman, M.D. Attending Psychiatrist, MGH Bipolar Clinical and Research Program; MGH Center for Addiction Medicine. Advanced Training Program at Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, Newton, MA
  • Andrea Spencer, M.D. MGH/McLean Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship
  • Christopher Tangren, M.D. Attending Psychiatrist, Dissociative Disorders and Trauma Program, McLean; Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute Fellowship, Newton, MA

Teaching awards go to our faculty and residents

Posted: May 24th, 2012

Steve Seiner, MD, Associate Director of the Residency Program, won the APA Nancy C.A. Roeske Certificate of Excellence in Medical Student Teaching presented at the 2012 APA Meeting and again during the 2012 Harvard Medical School Psychiatry Medical Student Education Awards Ceremony. Oriana Vesga-Lopez, Class of 2013, was awarded one of the Harvard Medical School Resident Teaching Awards from the HMS Class of 2012.

A leader among leaders

Posted: April 25th, 2012

Dr. Kathy Sanders was recently inaugurated as the 2012-2013 President of the American Association of Directors of Psychiatry Residency Training (AADPRT).