On June 9, 2021, the Department of Psychiatry held its 2nd virtual Research Day, featuring presentations on health equity research, a speed dat(a)ing session, a keynote address, and honors and awards. 

The event was billed as a Research “Half” Day, as we hope and expect for the second half of the event, a poster session, to occur in person. (Date: October 5, 2021. Stay tuned to our events page for details!)

Below is a look at the events of the day:

Keynote Address

Beatriz Luna, PhD (Staunton Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry and Professor of Psychology) is an expert in developmental neuroscience, focusing on developmental changes in brain function that subserve the acquisition of higher-order cognition from late childhood through adolescence. 

She presented the event’s keynote address, “My Trajectory Characterizing How Adolescent Neurocognitive Specialization Establishes Adult Trajectories.”

Opportunities in Health Equity Research

Clyde Wilson Pickett, EdD (University of Pittsburgh Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) is an expert on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategy, and presented a talk on increasing and enhancing DEI in academia. 

Sarah Pedersen, PhD (Associate Professor of Psychiatry) and Jordan Holmes, BA (Research Project Assistant in the Youth and Family Research Program) presented “Strategies for Building an Inclusive and Equitable Lab.”

Speed Dat(a)ing Presenters

Vanessa Brown, PhD – “Anxiety, Aversive Learning, and Uncertainty-Driven Exploration”

Swathi Gujral, PhD – “Exercise Augmentation to Pharmacotherapy for Major Depression:  A Feasibility Trial Exploring Neural Mechanisms” 

Khaled Moussawi, MD, PhD – “Neurobiology of Drug-Cue Reactivity: An Opportune Window for the Treatment of Substance Use Disorders”

Tharick Pascoal, MD, PhD – “High-Performance Plasma Phospho-Tau Biomarker for Alzheimer’s Disease”

Rachel Vaughan-Coaxum, PhD – “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Context: Implications of Childhood Adversity for Youth in Depression Treatment Outcomes”

Frances Wang, PhD – “Genetically Based Pathways to Alcohol Problems”

Honors and Awards

Faculty Transition to Emeritus Status

  • James Becker, PhD (Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry)
  • Sue Beers, PhD (Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry)
  • John Donovan, PhD (Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry)

Research Review Committee Reviewers of the Year

Emerging Mentor Award:

Research Employees of the Year:

  • Richelle Stiffler, MSW (Research Program Administrator, Phillips Lab)
  • Mary “Happy” Fletcher, BS (Data Manager, Center for Sleep and Circadian Science) 

Research Team of the Year:

  • Jennifer Grace, MD (Senior Research Principal, Perinatal Health and Behavior Research Group) 
  • Gina Sweeny, MS (Research Coordinator, Perinatal Health & Behavior Research Group)