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 two current faculty members, Amy Herschell, PhD, and Oliver Lindheim, PhD, both of whom received K awards, as well as Elissa Brown, PhD, now a Professor of Psychology at St. John's 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. Jennifer SilkJennifer Silk, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology.  Her research focuses on social, contextual, and neurobiological factors involved in the etiology and treatment of anxiety and depressive disorders in youth. She is a past recipient of an NIMH Mentored Research Career Development Award (K01) and a NARSAD Young Investigator Award. She currently directs two NIH-funded studies investigating neurobiological and social contextual risk factors for anxiety and depression in adolescents. This work utilizes multiple methodologies, including ecological momentary assessment, pupillometry, behavioral observation, and functional neuroimaging. Dr. Silk also directs the Developmental Affective Science Collective (DASC), a collaborative network of researchers and trainees at WPIC conducting clinical research on the development and treatment of affective disorders. The DASC hosts monthly faculty seminars and a bi-annual international meeting on Developmental Affective Neuroscience. Dr. Silk is actively involved in mentoring, currently serving as a mentor to two graduate students in clinical/developmental psychology, one medical student, two post-doctoral fellows (including Patricia Tan, funded on this T32), and one clinical psychology intern. She also serves as a mentor, co-mentor, or consultant on five funded K Awards  (Olino and Horner [both previously funded on this T32], McMakin, Lotze, Stepp), four K Awards currently pending funding (Tan and Morgan [both funded on this T32], Brown, Insana) and two K Awards in preparation (Yaroslavsky and Bylsma [both funded on this T32]). She was recently recognized by the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation for her research contributions.       


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.


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.

Amy Herschell, PhD 

Dr. Herschell's research activities focus on the transfer and implementation of evidence-based treatments in community settings. She was a trainee of this program, mentored by Dr. Kolko on a K23 Award, Implementing Evidence-Based Treatment for Child Abuse. She now directs an R01 to study the effectiveness of the methods of implementation of PICT and leads another study of the efficacy of wraparound services in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Additionally, she currently mentors two post-doctoral fellows.

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). 


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. 


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.  

Dustin Pardini

Dustin Pardini, PhD 

Dr. Pardini's research has focused on the multiple developmental risk and protective factors that lead to the development and maintenance of criminal behaviors and psychopathic features from childhood through adulthood. Dr. Pardini serves as the Director of the Minority Research Training Program in Violence for undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral minority scholars through the University of Pittsburgh's Department of Psychiatry, funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Minority fellows participate in one of two ongoing research projects, the Pittsburgh Youth Study (PYS) and the Stop Now and Plan (SNAP) Treatment Study, both of which emphasize an understanding of racial disparities in violence and behavioral health problems and the mechanisms by which they occur, with particular focus on African American populations.  He is currently mentoring both a pre-doctoral and post-doctoral fellow.


Dr. Bambang Parmanto

Bambang Parmanto, PhD

Dr. Parmanto has worked in the fields of telehealth, health information and data mining, and accessibility of the Web. He leads the Health and Rehabilitation Informatics (HARI) research group within the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and was the Chair of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) Research Committee. He is the recipient of the 2010 AHIMA TRIUMPH Research Award. He has collaborated with Drs. Brent and Silk on the development of phone applications for anxious, depressed and suicidal youth.  His successful pre- and post-doctoral mentorship experience has resulted in fellows receiving three faculty positions and four secured grants funded through NIH and the DOD.

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. 

 Dr. Christopher Ryan

Chris Ryan, PhD

Dr. Ryan's areas of research interest include effects of various medical disorders (e.g., diabetes, hypertension) and medical therapies (e.g., cholesterol-lowering medications, brain surgery for epilepsy) on cognitive functioning in both children and adults. He is Director of the Institutional Review Board and is an expert on research ethics, especially with regard to the use of social media to sample and intervene with youth. He has served as a member of 20 dissertation committees and has provided extensive pre-and post-doctoral supervision to more than 10 fellows.


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.


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).


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.