Deanna Barch, Washington University in St. Louis

Deanna Barch is a clinical scientist whose research focuses on understanding normative patterns cognitive function and brain connectivity and the mechanisms that give rise to the challenges in behavior and cognition found in illnesses such as schizophrenia and depression, utilizing psychological, neuroimaging and computational approaches. She is Chair of the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences at Washington University and has been at the University since 1998. She is also a Professor of Psychiatry and Radiology. She was the inaugural Dean of Faculty Development for the School of Arts and Sciences. She is Deputy Editor at Biological Psychiatry and Editor-in-Chief of Biological Psychiatry: Global Open Science. She is also the incoming President of the Psychology Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Barch is on the scientific boards of the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, the One Mind Foundation, and the Stanley Foundation and a member of the NIMH Research Diagnostic Criteria Committee. Dr. Barch was on the Executive Committee of the Association for Psychological Science and the Scientific Council of the NIMH. She is a Fellow of both the Association for Psychological Science and the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, a member of the Society for Experimental Psychology, and a member of the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Kay Redfield Jamison, Johns Hopkins

Kay Redfield Jamison is the Dalio Professor in Mood Disorders, Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and co–director of the Johns Hopkins Mood Disorders Center. She is also Honorary Professor of English at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. She is co–author of the standard medical text on manic–depressive (bipolar) illness, which was chosen as the most outstanding book in biomedical sciences by the American Association of Publishers, and author of Touched with Fire, An Unquiet Mind, Night Falls Fast, Exuberance, and Nothing Was the Same. Dr. Jamison has written more than 125 scientific and clinical articles about mood disorders, suicide, creativity, and lithium. Her memoir, An Unquiet Mind, which chronicles her own experience with manic–depressive, or bipolar illness, was on The New York Times bestseller list for five months and translated into thirty languages. Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide was a national bestseller and selected by The New York Times as a Notable Book of 1999. Exuberance: The Passion for Life was selected by The Washington Post, The Seattle Times, and The San Francisco Chronicle as one of the best science books of 2004 and by Discover magazine as one of the best science books of the year. Her most recent book, Nothing Was the Same, was chosen by The Washington Post as one of the best books of 2009. Dr. Jamison is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as and the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and the recipient of numerous literary and scientific awards, including the Lewis Thomas Prize, the Sarnat Prize from the National Academy of Medicine, and a MacArthur Fellowship. Her book about Robert Lowell, Robert Lowell: Setting the River on Fire, was published in 2017.

Bianca Jones Marlin, Columbia University

Bianca Jones Marlin is a neuroscientist, the Herbert and Florence Irving Assistant Professor of Cell Research, and the Principal Investigator of the Marlin Lab at Columbia University’s Zuckerman Institute. She holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the New York University School of Medicine, and dual bachelor degrees in biology and adolescent education from St. John’s University.

As a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate Dr. Richard Axel, she began to investigate transgenerational epigenetic inheritance, or how trauma in parents affect the brain structure and sensory experience of their future offspring. During her graduate studies, in the laboratory of Dr. Robert Froemke, Dr. Marlin examined how the brain adapts to care for a newborn. Her findings uncovered a fundamental role of the neuromodulator oxytocin during the transition to motherhood. She aims to utilize neurobiology and the science of learning to better inform both the scientific and educational community on how positive experiences dictate brain health, academic performance, and social well being.

Erin M. Schuman, Max Planck Institute for Brain Research

Erin Schuman is a neurobiologist who studies the cell biology of synapses. She was born in San Gabriel, California, and completed her bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Southern California (1985) and her Ph.D in neuroscience at Princeton University (1990). She conducted postdoctoral work in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology at Stanford University. In 1993, she was appointed Assistant professor of Biology at the California Institute of Technology where she moved up the ranks to Full Professor. In 1997 she was also appointed as an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. In 2009, she was recruited as a founding director of the new Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and moved to Frankfurt, Germany. Dr. Schuman has been awarded numerous prizes and grants, including a Pew Scholars Award, the Beckman Young Investigator Award, the Hodgkin Huxley Katz Prize, two advanced investigator grants from the European Research Council, the SfN Salpeter Lifetime Achievement Award, the FENS Kavli Diversity Prize and the Jeantet Prize for Medicine, and is an elected member of the US National Academy of Sciences. She runs a large research lab of ~ 30 scientists aimed at understanding how neurons make and degrade proteins to allow synapses to function and change.


Denise Cai, Mount Sinai

Dr. Denise Cai is an Assistant Professor in the Neuroscience Department at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. The goal of her lab is to understand how the brain organizes and integrates different experiences so that it can efficiently ‘file’ and ‘cross-reference’ information, which is critical for daily life. Her laboratory combines cutting-edge cellular, systems and behavioral techniques to gain critical insights into how memories are initially stored and subsequently updated, and how these processes may be altered by trauma or aging. Her lab also develops and disseminates open-source neuroimaging software and hardware tools for the broader neuroscience community. Dr. Cai’s scientific merit and innovation has been recognized by several prestigious awards, such as the NIH Director Innovator’s Award (DP2), McKnight Memory and Cognitive Disorder Award, Klingenstein-Simons Fellowship, One Mind Rising Star Award, Brain Research Foundation Award, NARSAD Young Investigator Award, Allen Institute Next Generation Leader, and Irma T. Hirschl/Monique Weill-Caulier Research Award.

Eero Castrén, University of Helsinki

Dr. Eero Castrén is currently Academy Professor at the Neuroscience Center, University of Helsinki, Finland. He trained at the National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, MD, Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry, Munich, Germany, and the Department of Neuroscience and Psychiatry, Columbia University, NY. Dr. Castrén is internationally known for his studies on the role of brain-derived neurotrophic factor BDNF in antidepressant drug action. He has recently shown that both typical and fast-acting antidepressants act by directly binding to BDNF receptor TrkB and allosterically increasing BDNF signaling. He has also shown the critical role of TrkB receptors in parvalbumin-interneurons in the antidepressant response. This work reveals that BDNF signaling is activated by drugs that are used daily by millions globally, which suggests that antidepressants could be used to promote neurotrophin signaling and plasticity in any brain disorder where plasticity is beneficial. Dr. Castrén has found that through increased TrkB signaling, antidepressants reactivate a juvenile-like plasticity in the adult rodent brain, including the visual cortex and in the fear extinction network, revealing the critical role of neuronal plasticity in the antidepressant drug action. Combined, these findings establish the need for the combination of antidepressants with training or rehabilitation, which explains the superior efficacy of combined antidepressants and psychotherapy, and provides a new paradigm of active engagement of the patient together with drug-promoted plasticity.

Laramie Duncan, Stanford University

Dr. Laramie Duncan is the PI of the Integrative Mental Health Laboratory (Duncan Lab) and is an Assistant Professor at Stanford in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. With a joint PhD in neuroscience and clinical psychology, Dr. Duncan's long term goal is to discover mechanisms underlying mental health problems, especially schizophrenia and PTSD. Dr. Duncan undertook extensive postdoctoral training in statistical genetics and she leads genomic analyses for international consortia. Projects include both primary discovery efforts and translational analyses to yield mechanistic targets for novel therapeutics.

Brielle Ferguson, Stanford University

Dr. Brielle Ferguson is a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University. Her research is focused on discovering and better understanding circuits in the brain that support cognition, and identifying pathways for intervention in psychiatric diseases and neurological and neurodevelopmental disorders with cognitive impairments. She also is a co-founder and the Director of Programs for Black In Neuro, an organization that strives to build community, provide resources, and increase visibility for Black scholars in neuroscience-related fields. She hopes to serve as a role-model to aspiring neuroscientists of color through continuing to share her story, mentorship, outreach. Dr. Ferguson has received many awards and honors, including being recently named one of Forbes Under 30 Scientists for her scientific and service contributions to the field.

Xiaosi Gu, Mount Sinai

Dr. Xiaosi Gu is one of the foremost researchers in the area of computational psychiatry. Her research examines the neural and computational mechanisms underlying human beliefs, decision making, and social interaction in both health and disease, through a synthesis of neuroscience, cognitive science, and behavioral economics approaches. Dr. Gu completed her postdoctoral training in computational psychiatry at Virginia Tech and the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, University College London (UCL), after receiving her Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS). During her time in London, she founded the world’s first computational psychiatry course at UCL. Before rejoining Mount Sinai, Dr. Gu held faculty positions at the University of Texas, Dallas and UT Southwestern Medical Center. She is currently an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, and Founding Director of the Center for Computational Psychiatry at ISMMS.

Guillermo Horga, Columbia

Dr. Guillermo Horga is Florence Irving Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. His lab mainly focuses on the neurobiological and cognitive mechanisms of psychotic symptoms in schizophrenia and of related cognitive functions in health—mainly inference and decision-making. A main focus of the lab is understanding the mediating mechanisms linking striatal dopamine dysregulation to the expression of psychotic symptoms. To understand these neural mechanisms, his research uses behavioral paradigms and computational tools in combination with a variety of functional, structural and molecular in vivo neuroimaging techniques (mainly functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging [fMRI] and Positron Emission Tomography [PET]) in healthy humans and patients with psychotic disorders. Another line of work focuses on developing MRI-based biomarkers for psychosis, including non-invasive MRI proxy markers for dopamine function such as neuromelanin-sensitive MRI. This work is funded through private foundations, including the Dana Foundation, and federal funding from the NIMH.

Conor Liston, Cornell University

Dr. Conor Liston is an Associate Professor of Neuroscience and Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medicine. The long-term goals of his research program are to define basic mechanisms by which prefrontal cortical brain circuits support learning, memory, and motivation, and to understand how these functions are disrupted in depression, OCD, and other neuropsychiatric disorders. His team is also developing novel neuroimaging tools for informing psychiatric diagnosis in human populations and predicting treatment response to transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and other neurostimulatory antidepressant interventions. Dr. Liston graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College in 2002, and received his PhD and MD from The Rockefeller University and Weill Cornell Medicine in 2007 and 2008, respectively. He subsequently completed his residency in psychiatry at NewYork–Presbyterian Hospital and postdoctoral training at Stanford University. He returned to Weill Cornell as an Assistant Professor in 2014. His research has been recognized with awards from the Klingenstein-Simons Foundation Fund, the Rita Allen Foundation, the Dana Foundation, the One Mind Institute, the Pritzker Neuropsychiatric Disorders Consortium, and the Hope for Depression Research Foundation. He is also a clinically active psychiatrist specializing in the management of treatment-resistant mood disorders.

Lerato Majara, Broad Institute/University of Cape Town

Dr. Lerato Majara has a background in Medical Microbiology having completed her undergraduate and masters degrees in this field. Dr. Majara recently completed a PhD in Human Genetics at the University of Cape Town (UCT), in which she investigated the genetic risk factors associated with schizophrenia in the South African Xhosa population. She is an alumna member of the Global Initiative of Neuropsychiatric Genetics Education and Research (GINGER) programme at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and currently a Postdoctoral fellowship on the Neuropsychiatric Genetics in African Populations (NeuroGAP) project in Alicia Martin’s lab.

Kevin Mastro, Broad Institute

Dr. Kevin Mastro is a postdoctoral fellow in the labs of Drs. Bernardo Sabatini and Beth Stevens at Harvard Medical School. Prior to arriving in Boston, Dr. Mastro earned his doctorate with Dr. Aryn Gittis at the University of Pittsburgh and focused on how molecularly and anatomically distinct cell-types contribute to the functional diversity in the basal ganglia in both health and disease. For his postdoctoral work, he has developed an integrative research program focused on the mechanisms regulating the development of frontal cortex throughout the extended period of adolescence in mouse and marmoset. Combining genetics, electrophysiology, anatomy and behavior, Dr. Mastro aims to define when and what are the features changing over the course of adolescence. In doing so, he has begun to investigate how environmental and genetic risk factors associated with a range of psychiatric diseases impact this developmental trajectory. In his future work, Dr. Mastro aims to integrate the molecular mechanisms driving these changes and across animal species and identify tractable targets for therapeutic interventions.

Niamh Mullins, Mount Sinai

Dr. Niamh Mullins is Assistant Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Genetics and Genomic Sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Her research involves conducting large-scale genetic studies of psychiatric disorders, to gain biological insights, identify potential therapeutic targets, and develop genetic risk predictors. Dr. Mullins leads analyses in the Bipolar Disorder Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, and is Co-founder of the International Suicide Genetics Consortium. She obtained her PhD in statistical genetics from King’s College London.

Karen Parker, Stanford University

Dr. Karen Parker is Associate Professor and Associate Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, where she directs the Social Neurosciences Research Program and leads the Major Laboratories Steering Committee. The principal goal of her research program is to better understand the biology of social functioning across a range of species, and to translate these fundamental insights to drive development of novel diagnostic tools to detect, and precision therapeutics to treat, social deficits in patient populations. Dr. Parker received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Michigan and completed postdoctoral training at Stanford University. Dr. Parker joined the Stanford faculty in 2007. She is an Affiliate Scientist at the California National Primate Research Center, a Member of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, and a Kavli Fellow of the US National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Parker’s research program has been supported by multiple funding agencies including the NIH, Simons Foundation, Department of Defense, and NARSAD. Dr. Parker serves on the Editorial Board of Psychoneuroendocrinology, and on various national and international grant review committees and scientific advisory panels.

Jean Carlos Rodríguez Díaz, University of Michigan

Jean Carlos Rodríguez Díaz is a graduate student in the Neuroscience Graduate Program at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor Campus. His research interests include the neurophysiology of coordinated neuronal network activity. Under the mentorship of Dr. Kevin Jones, his dissertation research is focused on determining the role of NMDARs in the development and maintenance of synchronous network activity. He received his B.Sc. in Biology from the University of Puerto Rico – Río Piedras Campus. As an undergraduate student, he was part of the ENDURE-NeuroID program which facilitated his first research experience in Dr. Lasalde’s laboratory. Jean Carlos has participated in numerous summer programs such as the International Program for the Advancement of Neurotechnology hosted in University of Freiburg. He is an alumnus of the Summer Program in Neuroscience, Excellence and Success, as well as the Neural Systems and Behavior Course hosted at the Marine Biological Laboratory. His long-term goal is to become an independent academic researcher studying how neurons participate in neuronal networks and the impact of environmental insults on network activity.

Seung-Eon Roh, Johns Hopkins

Dr. Seung-Eon Roh received his Ph.D. from Seoul National University College of Medicine and is continuing post-doctoral research in the Department of Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the lab of Dr. Paul Worley. He is interested in the immediate early gene mechanisms that regulate memory consolidation and sleep homeostasis.

Dheeraj Roy, Broad Institute

Dr. Dheeraj Roy is a Warren Alpert Distinguished Scholar and McGovern Fellow at the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute. He earned his Ph.D. from MIT. His work aims to uncover the neural basis of cognitive functions, including the formation of long-term memories and higher executive processes. By modeling human disorders in mice, Dr. Roy investigates pathophysiological alterations that lead to cognitive dysfunction. The long-term goal of his research is to develop novel therapeutic approaches for neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders. Dr. Roy received the Fred Hutchinson Harold M. Weintraub Award in 2017 for his graduate studies and the Boston Globe’s ‘21 Trailblazing People’ Award in 2017 for his translational research.

Arpiar Saunders, OHSU (Oregon Health & Science University)

Dr. Arpiar “Arpy” Saunders earned his B.A. in Biology and Linguistics from Swarthmore College in 2006. He researched wild-flower genomes at the University of Montana before moving to Harvard Medical School for doctoral and postdoctoral training. At Harvard, Dr. Saunders earned his Ph.D. in Neuroscience in the lab of Bernardo Sabatini, studying the synaptic organization of the mouse brain. As a Helen Hay Whitney Fellow in Steve McCarroll’s lab, he used single-cell genomics to describe molecular diversity of brain cells. Dr. Saunders joined the Vollum Institute as an assistant scientist in 2020.

TJ Singh, Broad Institute

Dr. TJ Singh is an Instructor in the Analytic and Translational Genetics Unit and the Stanley Center of Psychiatric Genetics. He completed his Ph.D. in 2016 at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, where he studied the role of rare variation in the genetic architecture of psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders. Working in Dr. Mark Daly and Dr. Benjamin Neale’s groups, he currently works on the meta-analyses of sequencing data in psychiatric traits, with a primary focus on the genetics of schizophrenia.

Joshua Welch, University of Michigan

Dr. Joshua Welch is an assistant professor in the Department of Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics at the University of Michigan Medical School. His research aims to address fundamental problems in both biomedical research and computer science by developing new tools tailored to rapidly emerging high-throughput sequencing technologies. Broadly, the Welch lab seeks to understand what genes define the complement of cell types and cell states within healthy tissue, how cells differentiate to their final fates, and how dysregulation of genes within specific cell types contributes to human disease. As computational method developers, the lab seeks to both employ and advance the methods of machine learning, particularly for unsupervised analysis of high-dimensional data.

Most recently, Dr. Welch has focused on developing open-source software for the processing, analysis, and modeling of single-cell sequencing data. Key contributions in this area include SingleSplice, the first computational method for single-cell splicing analysis; SLICER, an algorithm for inferring developmental trajectories; and LIGER, a general approach for integrating single-cell transcriptomic, epigenomic and spatial transcriptomic data. He has applied these methods in collaboration with biological scientists to study stem cell differentiation, somatic cell reprogramming, and the brain.

Mei-Fang Xiao, Johns Hopkins

Dr. Mei-Fang Xiao is a research associate at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She received her Ph.D. from University of Hamburg, Center for Molecular Neurobiology (under the supervision of Dr. Melitta Schachner). After graduation, Mei-Fang joined Dr. Paul Worley’s laboratory as a postdoctoral fellow, and her research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying neurological and psychiatric disorders. In particular, she is interested in an immediate early gene, called neuronal pentraxin 2 (NPTX2), and has discovered NPTX2 is a novel biomarker of cognitive impairment in neurological and psychiatric diseases.