Training Executive Commitee

Dr. David BrentProgram Director: David Brent, MD is Professor of Child Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and Epidemiology, Academic Chief of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and Endowed Chair in Suicide Studies. He has served as Program Director since 1994. He received post-doctoral training in psychiatric epidemiology at WPIC from 1982-1985.  Dr. Brent has been funded by NIMH continuously since 1985.  His areas of expertise are epidemiology, nosology, family studies, treatment development, and clinical trials, with a clinical emphasis on suicide and mood disorders. He has conducted work on the psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy of depression, as well as case-control, genetic, and longitudinal studies related to suicide, and his work has been recognized with awards from NARSAD, the AFSP, the APA, the AACAP, and the JED Foundation. As Academic Chief of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at WPIC, he is well-positioned to ensure that adequate administrative support is given to the training program, trainees, and mentors. Overall, Dr. Brent has overseen the graduation of 58 postdoctoral trainees. He has served as mentor or co-mentor to several postdoctoral fellows and faculty members, including Drs. Boris Birmaher, MD; Jeff Bridge, PhD; Oscar Bukstein, MD; John Campo, MD; Laura Dietz, PhD; Tina Goldstein, PhD; Nadine Melhem, PhD; David Rosenberg, MD; and V. Robin Weersing, PhD, all of whom now have independent funding and many of whom are now recognized as leaders in their field.


Dr. Neal RyanCo-Director Neal Ryan, MD is the Joaquim Puig-Antich Professor in Child Psychiatry and Director of Education for the Department of Psychiatry.  Dr. Ryan directed a large Program Project, "Neurobehavioral Changes in Pediatric Affective Disorder" (MH41712), followed by a CIDAR grant, "Transdisciplinary Studies of CBT for Anxiety in Youth" (MH080215), and is a co-PI and co-investigator on a number of other NIMH studies of the course, treatment, neurobiology, and genetics of mood and anxiety disorders in children.  He has been recognized by NAMI for his work.  Dr. Ryan serves as Director of Education for the Department and is in an excellent position to recruit research oriented medical students and residents for the T32.  He also directs the Child Intervention, Prevention, and Services (CHIPS) program, a summer research institute focused on child intervention, prevention, and services research that provides training complementary to this T32 (R25MH068367).  Among the outstanding faculty and post-doctoral fellows that Dr. Ryan has successfully mentored are Michael DeBellis, MD; David Axelson, MD; Burl Daviss, MD; Joan Kaufman, PhD; and Doug Williamson, PhD, all of whom have received K-awards and all but one of whom have received R01s as well.


Dr. David KolkoCo-Director David Kolko, PhD is a Professor of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Pediatrics, and Director of the Special Services Unit at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, a treatment research program for youth referred by the Juvenile Court. Dr. Kolko’s federal and state grant funding has been directed towards the study and treatment of disruptive disorders, childhood firesetting, juvenile sexual offending, and child abuse. He has been an investigator on several national studies involving translational/effectiveness research that are designed to disseminate cognitive-behavioral and family-system treatments for youth involved as victims or offenders of violent/aggressive behavior to practitioners in various service settings including primary care, juvenile justice, education, child welfare, and mental health.  Currently, he is conducting the second iteration of an efficacy trial of primary case-based treatment of behavioral disorders.  He is now in his 25th year as a core faculty member on the Pre-Doctoral Clinical Psychology Internship Committee, is a member of the Psychology Discipline Committee at WPIC, and routinely supervises/mentors undergraduate/honor’s students, graduate students, residents, post-doctoral fellows, and local faculty.  Given his membership on a pediatric subcommittee of the University of Pittsburgh IRB, Dr. Kolko is in an excellent position to train and mentor students in both the clinical and research underpinnings of treatment outcome studies.  Dr. Kolko has successfully mentored one current faculty member, Oliver Lindheim, PhD, who received a K award, as well as Elissa Brown, PhD, now a Professor of Psychology at St. John's University and Amy Herschell, PhD, now an Associate Professor at West Virginia University.


Dr. Boris BirmaherBoris Birmaher, MD is a Professor of Psychiatry, holds an Endowed Chair in Early Onset Bipolar Disease, and is an expert on the psychopharmacology and neurobiology of early-onset mood and anxiety disorders.  He has been a Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator on several major, multi-site clinical trials, including the Child/Adolescent Anxiety Multimodal Study (CAMS, MH64003), Treatment of Early-onset Mania (TEAM), and Treatment of Resistant Depression in Adolescents (TORDIA). Dr. Birmaher currently leads three NIMH-funded projects on bipolar disorders, two of which are on phenomenology and course (Course and Outcome for Adolescents with Bipolar Illness; MH05529; Longitudinal Assessment of Manic Symptoms Study (LAMS); MH073953),and one on familial transmission (Children of Bipolar Parents: A High-Risk Follow-Up Study; MH064003). He is the Director of the research track for the child residency/fellowship and, therefore, is in a good position to recruit promising residents interested in research into the T32. He has won the Golden Apple Award for the Best Faculty Teacher of Residents twice, has mentored numerous residents in research projects, and has trained many research fellows, including Johanne Renaud, MD, who has gone on to a successful career in academic child psychiatry in Montreal. Other mentees include K-awardees David Axelson, MD; Burle Daviss, MD; Andy Gilbert, MD; and Tina Goldstein, PhD.  Ben Goldstein, MD, a mentee from Canada, is now a faculty member at the University of Toronto and has received awards from NARSAD and the Canadian Research Council.  In addition, for the last 20 years Dr. Birmaher has been training residents and junior child psychiatrists from around the world, including China, Egypt, Israel, Spain, and several countries in Central and South America.


Dr. Tina GoldsteinTina Goldstein, PhD Associate Professor of Psychiatry, completed her T32 fellowship on August 31, 2006, at which point she was appointed to the faculty as Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry.  She recently successfully completed a 5-year Career Development Award (K23) entitled "Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Bipolar Adolescents." Her K23 award informed her recent NIMH R01 submission to conduct a larger randomized trial of the treatment. Along with colleagues in sleep medicine, Dr. Goldstein received a 3-year foundation-funded grant in 2009 to conduct a longitudinal investigation of the association between suicide and sleep disturbances in youth with bipolar disorder. An R03 from NIDA awarded in 2011 will allow her to also investigate the role of substance use in this sample. In 2011, Dr. Goldstein was also awarded two NIMH-funded R34 treatment development grants: one to examine Motivational Interviewing (MI) to improve treatment adherence in youth with bipolar disorder and the other to investigate a brief psychosocial intervention for youth at risk for the development of bipolar disorder. She is a Co-Investigator on several other NIH-funded studies of youth psychopathology and treatment. She serves on the training committee for the WPIC pre-doctoral internship program, is a faculty member and mentor for the NIH-funded Career Development Institutes for both Bipolar Disorder and Psychiatry, and has been a clinical and research mentor for undergraduate, graduate, pre-doctoral, and medical resident trainees. She recently was recognized for her research by NAMI with the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance Klerman Young Investigator Award.


Dr. Susan PerlmanSusan Perlman, PhD is a Developmental Cognitive Neuroscientist who specializes in functional neuroimaging of neural systems underlying the typical and atypical development of emotion in children and adolescents and the interface of brain development and social contexts. She is the director of the Laboratory for Child Brain Development. Her current research is particularly focused on progressing a neurodevelopmental understanding that will advance differentiation of normal and atypical emotional development in early childhood through adolescence. She creates novel and child-friendly tasks to examine psychological systems in the categories of emotion and executive function while monitoring the brain through functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). She is particularly interested in the neurodevelopment of executive function as a moderator of clinical outcome in irritable children.



Faculty Mentors  

Bernie Devlin, PhD 

Dr. Devlin's research focuses on the development of methods to fine map genes underlying complex diseases and to identify individuals at risk for certain hereditary diseases. He is an active teacher and consultant, serves regularly on PhD committees, and has mentored multiple pre-doctoral and post-doctoral fellows, as well as K-awardees. He is a member of the National Academies of Science.


Dr. Patricia Documet

Patricia Documet, MD, DrPH

Dr. Documet directs the Center for Health Equity using community-based participatory research to study barriers to care and utilization, including the role of social networks in accessing and adhering to medical and mental health care, with a special emphasis on Latino immigrants. She is an experienced pre-doctoral mentor and is currently mentoring two fellows.


 Shaun Eack

 Shaun Eack, PhD

Dr. Eack is a Professor of Social Work and Psychiatry.  His primary interests include the development, implementation, and evaluation of psychosocial treatment methodologies to improve the care of people with schizophrenia and related disorders. Dr. Eack is currently the Primary Investigator of three NIH-funded projects focusing on cognitive enhancement therapy among individuals with schizophrenia and also Autism Spectrum Disorder. 


Erika Forbes, PhD 

Dr. Forbes' research focuses on the neurobiology of affective processing, especially reward response, in the development of adolescent depression and substance use, using techniques including fMRI, behavior observation, computer-task performance, and ecological momentary assessment, with both standardized (e.g., money) and personalized (e.g., parents, friends) stimuli. Currently, she is the primary mentor for three undergraduates, one graduate student, two post-doctoral fellows, including the recipient of an NIMH minority supplement, and two K01 awardees.

Dr. Alison Hipwell Alison Hipwell, PhD

Dr. Hipwell's research interests include precursors and developmental trajectories of psychopathology, conduct disorder, depression, female development, and sexual risk taking. She has successfully mentored Xin Feng, a post-doctoral fellow who has obtained an appointment of Assistant Professor at Ohio State University. 


Satish Iyengar, PhD 

Dr. Iyengar has collaborated with many child psychiatry faculty members on their grants and papers. He has extensive experience mentoring pre-doctoral and post-doctoral trainees. He participates in the assessment of trainees' needs for additional training in statistics, participates in seminars, assists trainees in the preparation of the statistics and data analysis sections of their grant proposals, and consults on data analysis for the trainees' publications and presentations. In addition, Dr. Iyengar has particular expertise and experience in the statistical issues involved in the design of clinical trials, the analysis of complex nested data (such as ecological momentary activity [EMA]), missing data, familial data, and longitudinal data.



Maria Kovacs, PhD 

Dr. Kovacs studies emotion regulation/mood repair in youth at risk for familial depression and in overt depressive disorders in youths and young adults, and the ways in which physiology (components of the autonomic nervous system) influence or constrain mood repair in high-risk and low-risk individuals. Her focus on mood repair has also led to the development of an intervention for young depressed children, currently in a RCT. Dr. Kovacs has been mentor to numerous early-career scientists over the years, some of whom have become colleagues at WPIC (e.g., Drs. Brent, Forbes, and Silk). 


Oliver Lindhiem 

Oliver Lindhiem, PhD

Dr. Lindhiem focuses on three primary areas: 1) evidence-based assessment, 2) techniques to enhance skill acquisition/utilization, and 3) increasing access to evidence-based care. Dr. Lindhiem graduated from this T32 training program, has received continuous funding from NIMH since 2011, and has successfully mentored pre- and post-doctoral students.




Beatriz Luna, PhD 

Dr. Luna is a developmental neuroscientist and pediatric neuroimager who has been investigating the neural basis of developmental changes in cognition from childhood to adolescence in normative populations and in pediatric neuropsychiatric disorders. For her outstanding and innovative research, she was recognized by the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering in 2005. Dr. Luna co-mentored Miya Asato, MD, a previous fellow on this T32, and successfully sponsored her for her K-award. She is also a mentor to three other junior faculty with K01's.


Dr. Michael Marshal

Michael Marshal, PhD

Dr. Marshal focuses on identifying risk and protective factors for substance use and mental health disparities among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) youth, with additional expertise on longitudinal study design and analysis. He is a co-mentor on four K-Awards. 


  Carla Mazefsky, PhD

Dr. Mazefsky is a licensed clinical psychologist specialized in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Her program of research is focused on emotional dysregulation in ASD, including the identification of underlying neural mechanisms, the conceptualization, treatment, and assessment of problems with emotional control, and co-occurring depression and anxiety. While most of her research to date has focused on high-functioning adolescents with ASD, she is expanding to more of a lifespan perspective, and is now conducting research on psychiatric inpatients with ASD as part of a multisite study to better understand and improve outcomes for those most severely affected by the disorder.



Nadine Melhem, PhD

Dr. Melhem's background is in psychiatric epidemiology and statistical genetics and her research focuses on studying the familial, genetic, environmental, and biological pathways implicated in depression and suicidal behavior; and studying psychological and biological responses to stress across the spectrum of psychopathology. She has extensive experience in conducting longitudinal studies characterizing offspring of parents with mood disorder and their increased risk for suicidal behavior and in studying the impact of parental bereavement on children's future risk for psychopathology. Her work is the first to characterize the phenomenology of grief in children and to identify a distinct HPA axis profile in suicide attempters compared to other high-risk subjects. She also has extensive experience in analyzing longitudinal datasets and applying advanced modeling techniques and has participated in the study of the genetics of several brain phenotyes.


Nancy Minshew, MD 

Dr. Minshew directs the multidisciplinary Center for Excellence in Autism (HDH3546), which investigates the neurobiological, genetic, and cognitive mechanisms of autism, and first articulated the role of connectivity in the pathogenesis of autism. She has mentored medical students, post-doctoral fellows (Dr. Diane Williams), and K awardees (Drs. Antonio Harden and Diane Williams).


Brooke Molina, PhD 

Dr. Molina is a leading expert on longitudinal study design and analysis, and focuses on the outcome of ADHD. In 2007, she received the Outstanding Mentor Award from the Department of Psychiatry and was a  mentor to Michael Marshal, PhD, a member of our training faculty who now has three R01's.  She is an experienced post-doctoral mentor, having successfully mentored seven fellows towards faculty positions.  

 Lisa Pan Lisa Pan, MD 

Dr. Pan's research focuses on the investigation of the neurobiology of early suicide attempt and treatment refractory depression in adolescents and young adults, specifically utilizing established methods in functional neuroimaging and metabolomics to characterize suicidal behavior. Her work includes collaborations with the Departments of Clinical and Translational Science, Statistics, Medical Genetics and Pediatrics. She is trained as an adult and child and adolescent psychiatrist, including over a decade of work specifically with teens and young adults at risk for suicide. Her experience includes a combination of acquisition and analysis of functional neuroimaging data, psychophysiologic interaction analyses, and diffusion tensor imaging analyses.


Mary Phillips, MD, PhD 

Dr. Phillips has used fMRI to develop a comprehensive neurocognitive model of emotion processing in order to explain liability to mood and anxiety disorders. Dr. Phillips is currently mentor to three Research Career (K) Awardees, four junior investigators in receipt of NARSAD Young Investigator Awards and other research foundation awards, and five other post-graduate investigators.


 Dr. Brian Primack

Brian Primack, MD, PhD

Dr. Primack focuses on media exposures and the greatest sources of US morbidity, mortality, and health disparities, including substance use and mental health, and on the use of media literacy education to promote health, serving  as the Director of the University of Pittsburgh's Program for Research on Media and Health (PROMH). Dr. Primack's mentees won national best student research awards in 2007, 2011, and 2012, and he was recently awarded the University of Pittsburgh's top medical student research mentor award. 

 Dana Rofey Dana Rofey, PhD 

At Children’s Hospital, Dr. Rofey has conducted studies that focus on seriously overweight children, adolescents with polycystic ovary syndrome, and cognitive behavioral treatment for children with diabetes. Dr. Rofey has been involved with NIH-funded grants and has completed research trials investigating mood disturbances across the lifespan, health promotion in adolescents, smoking cessation programs, collaborative care models in pediatric primary care, pediatric variants of bipolar disorder, and psychosocial implications of bariatric surgery.


Greg Siegle, PhD 

Dr. Siegle studies the mechanisms of response to psychotherapies, medications, and neurobehavioral interventions for depression. Currently, he mentors two post-docs, two K-awardees, six graduate students, and two undergraduates.


Dr. Jennifer Silk

Jennifer Silk, PhD

Dr. Silk is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry.  Her research focuses on social, contextual, and neurobiological factors involved in the etiology and treatment of anxiety and depressive disorders in youth. She directs two NIH-funded studies investigating neurobiological and social contextual risk factors for anxiety and depression in adolescents. Dr. Silk has been actively involved in mentoring on this training grant including, mentorship of two graduate students in clinical/developmental psychology, one medical student, two post-doctoral fellows, and one clinical psychology intern. 



Bradley Stein, MD 

Dr. Stein focuses on quality improvement of care for mentally disordered youth in community settings and on the use of technology to enhance the care provided in community settings, including a computerized shared decision-making aid for individuals on psychotropic medications, a computerized child mental health parent-reported outcomes tool, and Internet- supported training and implementation support for individuals working with youth exposed to violence and for clinicians treating adults with bipolar disorder. He has served as a mentor for post-doctoral trainees in this training program (e.g., Abby Schlesinger, MD).


Stephanie Stepp

 Stephanie Stepp, PhD

Dr. Stepp has research interests in risk factors for the development of borderline personality disorder in children and adolescents. She is also interested in statistical methods to model longitudinal data and improve assessment instruments. She has served as mentor for multiple successful postdoctoral fellows (eg Lori Scott PhD) and graduate students.


Eva Szigethy, MD, PhD 

Dr. Szigethy has focused on the diagnosis and treatment of anxiety and depression in children and adolescents with physical illness using inflammatory bowel disease as a model. She is the recipient of an NIH Director's Innovator Award that assesses the effects of a cognitive behavioral intervention on both emotional and physical illness-related symptoms and the neurobiology thereof. Dr. Szigethy is involved in mentoring and teaching post-doctoral fellows, graduate students, psychiatry residents, and medical students.