Psychiatry and
Behavioral Sciences

Research: Advancing Science

Advancing science is integral in fulfilling the fundamental purpose of academic medicine in society, which is to create - and prepare the way - for a better future.  We do this by examining our true understanding of mental illness, of the origins of mental illness, and of normal health and development.  Science - discovery and evidence - leads and links all that we do in the Department.  Better knowledge translates to improved care for those living with mental illness, as well as the medical community and society as a whole.  Our department strives to promote new discoveries and understand the course of mental illness throughout the lifespan, using multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary efforts that are uniquely possible at Stanford.  

Below are the areas of research that we explore in each of our five divisions :


Major Laboratories and Clinical & Translational Neurosciences Incubator

A primary emphasis of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences is to develop outstanding academic and mental healthcare system leaders who will lead psychiatric research, education and clinical excellence in the 21st century. This is achieved by providing our Post-Doctoral Fellows and Junior Faculty with state-of-the-art didactics in career development in the field of psychiatry, cutting-edge educational experiences and didactics, and opportunities for advanced clinical training in our Department.  Specifically, the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences provides several didactic sessions targeted to Post-doctoral Fellows and Junior faculty that include information on a topics ranging from longitudinal planning for a successful academic career to the nuts and bolts of grant writing. In October of each academic year there is an orientation session that discusses the initial steps involved in long-term academic career development in psychiatry, and in the Spring there is a session entirely devoted to the writing and submission of career development awards. The Directors of our Incubator Initiative hold weekly office hours whereby they are accessible to all junior faculty and Post-Doctoral Fellows. Additional resources provided by our Incubator Initiative include external review of ongoing grants and manuscripts, statistical expertise, and facilitation of networking and leadership opportunities within and outside Stanford University. Further, the Incubator Initiative leverages the extensive expertise within our Department across multiple academic domains, from cellular models of neuropsychiatric disorders, to neuroimaging initiatives, clinical trials and psychopharmacology. The Incubator Initiative has compiled a group of Faculty experts across the Department who can provide additional expertise and advice targeted to the specific domain area of the junior investigators within our Department developing academic careers in the field of Psychiatry.

Nancy Friend Pritzker Laboratory
Rob Malenka, MD, PhD

Craig Garner, PhD
Human Genomes and Brain Development and Function
Alexander Urban, PhD
Alcohol Translational Neuroscience Program
Edith Sullivan, PhD
Early Life Stress and Pediatric Anxiety Program
Victor Carrion, MD
Stanford Cognitive and Systems Neurosciences Laboratory
Vinod Menon, PhD
Panlab: Personalized and Translational Neuroscience Lab
Leanne Williams, PhD
Program on the Genetics Of Brain Function
Douglas Levinson, MD
Center On Stress and Health
David Spiegel, MD

Research By Division

Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Child Development

Research in the Division is rich and varied. Our mission is advancing science through exploration of psychopathology in children and adolescents; psychotherapy process and outcomes; early childhood stress/trauma; and psychological adjustment. The goal is to increase our understanding of the pathophysiology of youth mental health concerns including mood, eating, childhood medical, anxiety, and autism and related disorders using innovative translational approaches ranging from stem cell research to imaging and clinical trials. These research programs are frequently integrated into clinical services through the Outpatient Specialty Clinics:

Autism and Developmental Disorders Research Program
Antonio Hardan, MD

Eating Disorders Research Program
James Lock, MD, PhD

Pediatric Bipolar Disorders Program
Kiki Chang, MD

Social Neurosciences Research Program
Karen Parker, PhD

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Division of General Psychiatry and Psychology

The Division of General Psychiatry and Psychology in the Stanford Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences encompasses a dynamic array of research topics from the immunological response to stress to digital platforms for dementia caregivers across the world.  All of the research in this division is united by a drive, desire, and dedication to understanding the mechanisms – biologic, neurologic, environmental, and more – that affect an individual’s mental health and to determine if interventions can help impacted individuals.

Adult Bipolar Disorder Studies at Stanford Bipolar Disorders Clinic
Terence Ketter, MD

VA Bipolar Disorders Research Program
Trisha Suppes, MD, PhD

Center for Neuroscience in Women's Health
Natalie Rasgon, MD, PhD

Depression Research Clinic
Alan Schatzberg, MD, Charles DeBattista, DMH, MD

Laboratory for the Study of Behavioral Medicine
Craig B. Taylor, MD

Mood Disorders Center
Alan Schatzberg, MD

Behavioral Neuroscience
David Lyons, PhD

Neuropsychology and Cognitive Neuroscience Lab
Shelli Kesler, PhD

Depression and Insomnia Research Program
Rachel Manber, PhD

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Division of Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences

The Division for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences (DIBS) at the Stanford University School of Medicine is dedicated to research that will improve the lives and well being of individuals with disorders of the brain through identification and measurement of genetic and environmental risk factors, comprehensive evaluation of cognitive and behavioral functions, multi-modal imaging of the living brain, and the design of innovative, disease-specific treatment trials using pharmacological, behavioral and imaging-based approaches. DIBS research staff are dedicated to identifying biological and environmental risk factors, understanding disease pathophysiology and developmental outcomes, and developing new treatments for neurodevelopmental, neurogenetic and neuropsychiatric disorders of childhood onset.

For more information:

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Division of Public Mental Health and Population Sciences

The focus of the Division of Public Mental Health and Population Sciences is to enhance the well-being of the general population and the optimal care of distinct and special populations by bridging the fields of psychiatry, epidemiology, ethics, and policy.  There are five main sections in the division and several established and growing labs:

Sleep Epidemiology Research Center
Maurice Ohayon, MD, DSc, PhD

Science of Suicide Prevention
Rebecca Bernert, PhD

Psychology and Biobehavioral Sciences Laboratory
Cheryl Gore-Felton, PhD and Cheryl Koopman, PhD

Stanford/VA Aging Clinical Research Center
Jerome Yesavage, MD

Etkin Lab
Amit Etkin, MD, PhD

Stanford/VA Alzheimer's Center
Jared Tinklenberg, MD

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Division of Sleep Medicine

The overarching goal of the division is to advance our understanding of sleep and sleep disorders and translate that knowledge into improved patient care.  Because sleep encompasses some of the greatest remaining mysteries in the biological sciences, breakthroughs in this area will constitute significant advances in human health this century.  The Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences & Medicine has a robust, multi-disciplinary research program comprised of ten distinct labs with diverse areas of focus.  Additionally, we regularly collaborate with many other groups both at Stanford and throughout the world.

Neurobiology of Brain States
Luis DeLecea, PhD

Sleep and Dreams
William Dement, MD, PhD

Center for Human Sleep Research
Clete Kushida, MD, PhD

Center for Narcolepsy & KLS Research Center
Emmanuel Mignot, MD, PhD

Genetics, Neurobiology, and Computational Analysis of Sleep and Associated Behaviors Laboratory
Philippe Mourrain, PhD

Sleep & Circadian Neurobiology Laboratory
Seiji Nishino, MD, PhD

Cellular Mechanisms of Neuropsychiatric Disorders Laboratory
Sergiu Pasca, MD

Circadian Research Laboratory
Jamie Zeitzer, PhD

To learn more about the individual research labs in the Division of Sleep Medicine, please visit:

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Clinical Trials Directory

For active Clinical Trials, please visit Stanford University School of Medicine's Clinical Trials webpage and search by your topic(s) of interest.


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