Scholars

Center for Brain Research in Mood Disorders (C-BRiMD) scholars are junior clinician-scientists who are developing major independent research programs to further the missions of the Center.  These individuals work closely under the mentorship of Core Faculty to develop new methods and novel treatment approaches.  C-BRiMD Scholars are selected annually by the center’s oversight committee.

From left: Sara Kornfield, Ginger Nicol, Michael Gaffrey, Pilar Cristancho, Shannon Lenze

Pilar Cristancho, MD

Dr. Cristancho, Assistant Professor in Psychaitry, is interested in the use of novel brain stimulation methods to treat severe and refractory mood disorders in adults.  Her current work is focused on the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to treat individuals with late life depression.  These studies are implementing novel TMS approaches to correct brain defects in executive cognitive function that occur in individuals with late life depression.  Dr. Cristancho is working with Eric Lenze on these projects.

Michael Gaffrey, PhD

Dr. Gaffrey, Assistant Professor in Psychiatry, is a clinical child psychologist who specializes in early brain and emotional development, and in identifying infants and young children at high risk for mood and anxiety problems as they mature to school age.  He is developing innovative new methods to study how infants and young children interact with their parents, how parent-child interactions influence brain development, and ways to intervene when problematic care-giving relationships are identified.  His work is aimed at the early recognition and prevention of psychiatric problems in children exposed to high risk settings and social relationships.

Sara Kornfield, PhD

Dr. Kornfield, Assistant Professor in Psychiatry, is a psychologist who is interested in mood and anxiety disorders in women in the perinatal period with particular emphasis on factors driving stress-related disorders in pregnancy, particularly post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  As with some of the other projects, she is particularly interested in women at high risk for psychiatric illnesses and in using novel interventions, including telepsychiatry, to break down barriers to health care and follow up. Dr. Kornfield is working with Eric Lenze on these projects.

Shannon Lenze, PhD

Dr. Lenze, Assistant Professor in Psychiatry, is a clinical psychologist focused on the mental health needs of women during pregnancy and postpartum. The aims of Dr. Lenze’s research program are to advance the identification and treatment of perinatal mood disorders with the goal to both address maternal suffering and ameliorate risk of intergenerational risk transmission of psychopathology to offspring. Specifically, she is interested in developing psychosocial interventions for perinatal depression that are not only effective in reducing depressive symptoms in mothers, but also in preventing adverse infant outcomes. A key area of focus is on women from impoverished backgrounds where there are substantial barriers to health care and high risks of abuse and neglect of infants and young children.

Ginger Nicol, MD

Dr. Nicol, Assistant Professor in Psychiatry, is a child and adolescent psychiatrist interested in the interface of child and adolescent obesity with psychiatric illnesses, including the impact of medications used to treat psychiatric illnesses.  She has a strong background in clinical psychiatry and metabolism and is developing novel interventions to combat childhood obesity, including efforts to monitor diet and weight changes in real time using mobile technology-based interventions.  Dr. Nicol works closely with Eric Lenze on these projects.