James Luccarelli (2020)

My name is James Luccarelli, and I’m a PGY-3 resident and member of the Child/Adolescent track within the MGH/McLean Psychiatry Residency. I was born and raised in New York City, where I had my earliest research experiences in neuronal glutamate biology in the lab of David Sulzer at Columbia University. I moved to Yale for college where I fell in love with organic chemistry, and the potential for small molecules to probe and influence biology. I went to Oxford on Marshall and NIH OxCam Scholarships where I earned a D.Phil. in organic chemistry with Andrew Hamilton working on the design and synthesis of peptidomimetics to disrupt protein-protein interactions. I then went to Harvard Medical School where I worked with Loren Walensky making stapled peptides to activate and inhibit apoptosis.

I chose MGH/McLean for the depth and breadth of clinical training in adult and child/adolescent psychiatry as well as the unparalleled diversity of research opportunities available. It's incredible to be working with so many of the leaders in neuroscience in the clinic, in seminars, and around the hospitals. I am interested in electroconvulsive therapy, and better understanding how to balance efficacy and side effects of this potent treatment. I am currently working with the ECT services at MGH and McLean to analyze factors associated with transition from ultrabrief stimulus parameters to other treatment types.

Outside of work I love being on and around the Charles river, and visiting the Boston Commons ducklings (the real ones when seasonal, and the Make Way for Ducklings statues year-round). I’m thrilled to have such a wonderful group of co-residents and such supportive program leadership.

NCBI bibliography

Google Scholar page


Harvard Medical School, MD, 2017
University of Oxford, DPhil, 2013
Yale University, BS/MS, 2010


Luccarelli, J.; Paton, RS. "Hydrogen-bond dependent conformational switching: a computational challenge from experimental thermochemistry.” The Journal of organic chemistry. 2018; PubMed [journal] PMID: 30586500.

Escudero, S.; Zaganjor, E.; Lee, S.; Mill, CP; Morgan, AM.; Crawford, EB.; Chen, J.; Wales, TE.; Mourtada, R.; Luccarelli, J.; Bird, GH.; Steidl, U.; Engen, JR.; Haigis, MC.; Opferman, JT.; Walensky, LD. "Dynamic Regulation of Long-Chain Fatty Acid Oxidation by a Noncanonical Interaction between the MCL-1 BH3 Helix and VLCAD.” Molecular cell. 2018; 69(5):729-743.e7. NIHMSID: NIHMS940191; PubMed [journal] PMID 29499131; PMCID: PMC5916823.

Peacock, H.; Luo, J.; Yamashita, T.; Luccarelli, J.; Thompson, S.; Hamilton, A.D. “Non-covalent S⋯O Interactions Control Conformation in a Scaffold that Disrupts Islet Amyloid Polypeptide Fibrillation.” Chem. Sci. 2016, 7, 6435-6439.

Lee, S.; Wales, T.E.; Escudero, S.; Cohen, D.T.; Luccarelli, J.; Gallagher, C.G.; Cohen, N.A.; Huhn, A.J.; Bird, G.H.; Engen, J.R.; Walensky, L.D. “Allosteric Inhibition of Antiapoptotic MCL-1.” Nat. Struct. Mol. Biol. 2016, 23, 600-607.

Edwards, A.L; Wachter, F.; Lammert, M.; Huhn, A.J.; Luccarelli, J.; Bird, G.H.; Walensky, L.D. “Cellular Uptake and Ultrastructural Localization Underlie the Pro-Apoptotic Activity of a Hydrocarbon-stapled BIM BH3 Peptide.” ACS Chem. Biol. 2015, 10, 2149-2157.

Leshchiner, E.S.; Parkhitko, A.; Bird, G.H.; Luccarelli, J.; Bellairs, J.A.; Escudero, S.; Opoku-Nsiah, K.; Godes, M.; Perrimon, N.; Walensky, L.D. “Direct Inhibition of Oncogenic KRAS by Hydrocarbon-stapled SOS1 Helices.” Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2015, 112, 1761-1766.

Simister, P.C.; Luccarelli, J; Thompson, S.; Appella, D.H.; Feller, S.M.; Hamilton, A.D. “Novel Inhibitors of Grb2 SH3C Identified by a Virtual Screen.” Bioorg. Med. Chem., 2013, 21, 4027-4033.

Luccarelli, J.; Thompson, S.; Hamilton, A.D. “SH3 Domains as Drug Targets.” in Protein-Protein Interactions in Drug Discovery, Ed. A. Doemling. Wiley-VCH, 2013. 101-128.

Luccarelli, J.; Michel, J.; Tirado-Rives, J.; Jorgensen, W.L. “Effects of Water Placement on Predictions of Binding Affinities for p38α MAP Kinase Inhibitors.” J. Chem. Theory Comput. 2010, 6, 2850-56.

Schmitz, Y.; Luccarelli, J.; Kim, M.; Wang, M.; Sulzer, D. “Glutamate Controls Growth Rate and Branching of Dopaminergic Axons.” J. Neurosci., 2009, 29, 11973-81.


2013 Marshall Scholarship

2017 NIH Oxford-Cambridge MD/PhD Scholarship

2014 David G. Nathan Fellowship

2010 Werner Bergmann Prize, Yale Chemistry Department

2010 Branford College Fellow’s Prize

2009 Elected Phi Beta Kappa

2009 Barry Goldwater Scholarship

2009 Yale-Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fellowship

2007 & 2008 Parkinson’s Disease Foundation Fellowship

2007 Outstanding EMS Call, East Bergen Ambulance Association

2006 IBM Watson Scholarship

2006 Siemens Merit Scholarship