Randy P Auerbach, PhD, ABPP

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Randy P. Auerbach, PhD, ABPP is a tenured Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University, College of Physicians, where he presently serves as Co-Director of the Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Depression. Dr. Auerbach received his BA from Cornell University (2000) and PhD in clinical psychology from McGill University (2010). Dr. Auerbach’s research is committed to improving our understanding of depression and suicide in adolescents. This work is funded by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health, the Tommy Fuss Fund, the Klingenstein Third Generation Foundation, the Dana Foundation: Clinical Neuroscience Research Grant, and several private foundations, and to date, it has resulted in over 200 published scientific papers and book chapters. Dr. Auerbach is the recipient of a number of awards including the Joel Elkes Research Award, David Shakow Early Career Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions in Clinical Psychology, the Society for Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology Early Career Award, and the Theodore Blau Early Career Award.

Academic Appointments

  • Professor of Medical Psychology (in Psychiatry)

Administrative Titles

  • Director, Translational Research on Affective Disorders and Suicide Laboratory, Columbia University
  • Co-Director, World Mental Health Initiative, College Mental Health Project, World Health Organization
  • Co-Director, Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Depression, Columbia University


  • Male

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Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • BA, 2000 Cornell University
  • PhD, 2010 McGill University
  • Internship: 2010 Harvard Medical School-McLean Hospital

Committees, Societies, Councils

  • American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
  • Society of Biological Psychiatry

Honors & Awards

  • 2021: Joel Elkes Research Award, American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
  • 2019: Gray Matters Fellow, Columbia University
  • 2017: Alfred Pope Award for Young Investigators, McLean Hospital
  • 2017: Theodore Blau Early Career Award, American Psychological Foundation
  • 2015: Society for Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology Early Career Award
  • 2015: Donald F. Klein Early Career Investigator Award (Honorable Mention)
  • 2014: David Shakow Early Career Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Clinical Psychology
  • 2014: Alies Muskin Career Development Leadership Award


Adolescent major depressive disorder (MDD) is a serious public health problem associated with significant emotional and socioeconomic burden. By the age of 18, approximately 11% of adolescents will have experienced a depressive episode,and around the age of 15, gender differences in MDD begin to emerge with girls reporting twice as many depressive episodes as compared to boys—a difference that persists throughout adulthood. These episodes are linked to negative outcomes in adolescence (e.g., academic difficulties, substance use) as well as adulthood (e.g., lower income levels, greater marital conflict, higher incidence of substance use disorders), and approximately 75% of suicide attempters report a history of adolescent depression. Despite these alarming statistics and the subsequent negative sequelae, the etiological mechanisms contributing to adolescent MDD and suicidal thoughts and behaviors remain unclear.

To address this critical gap, my research program focuses on identifying psychosocial, behavioral, and neurobiological factors that render certain children, adolescents, and young adults vulnerable to depression. Additionally, my work aims to learn from etiological findings to improve our understanding of clinical outcomes for adolescent MDD, particularly as this may prove helpful for predicting treatment response and understanding why depressive symptoms attenuate in treatment responders. The research is multidisciplinary and utilizes a multimodal approach (e.g., laboratory-based experiments, passive sensor monitoring, electrophysiology, and neuroimaging) to address essential, yet unanswered questions. These include:

  1. What behavioral and neural mechanisms underlie adolescent depression?
  2. Why do certain individuals who develop depression engage in risky (e.g., substance use, rule-breaking), self-injurious, and/or suicidal behaviors?
  3. What are the factors (e.g., therapeutic relationship, changes in the brain) that contribute to successful interventions?

As a whole, the research aims to better understand the putative mechanisms that may improve early identification of and treatment for adolescent depression and suicidal behaviors.

Research Interests

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Depression (Major Depressive Disorder)
  • Real-time fMRI Neurofeedback
  • Real-time Monitoring
  • Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors

Selected Publications

  1. Auerbach, R. P., Lan, R., Galfalvy, H., Alqueza, K., Cohn, J. F., Crowley, R., Durham, K., Joyce, K., Kahn, L. E., Kamath, R., Morrency, L.-P., Porta, G., Srinivasan, A., Zelazny, J., Brent, D. A., & Allen, N. B. (in press). Intensive longitudinal assessment of adolescents to predict suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
  2. Pagliaccio, D., Kumar, P., Kamath, R., Pizzagalli, D. A., & Auerbach, R. P. (2023). Neural sensitivity to peer feedback and depression symptoms in adolescence: A 2-year multi-wave longitudinal study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 64, 254-264.
  3. Auerbach, R. P., Pagliaccio, D., Hubbard, N., A., Frosch, I., Kremens, R., Cosby, E., Jones, R., Siless, V., Lo, N., Henin, A., Hofmann, S., Gabrieli, J. D. E., Yendiki, A., Whitfield-Gabrieli, S., & Pizzagalli, D. A. (2022). Reward-related circuitry in depressed and anxious adolescents: A human connectome project. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 61, 308-320.
  4. Allison, G. O., Benau, E., Asbaghi, S., Pagliaccio, D., Stewart, J. G., & Auerbach, R. P. (2021). Neurophysiological markers related to negative self-referential processing differentiate adolescent suicide ideators and attempters. Biological Psychiatry: Global Open Science, 1, 16-27.
  5. Auerbach, R. P., Pagliaccio, D., Allison, G. O., Alqueza, K. L., & Alonso, M. F. (2021). Neural correlates associated with suicide and non-suicidal self-injury in youth. Biological Psychiatry, 89, 119-133. 
  6. Mann, J. J., Michel, C. A., & Auerbach, R. P. (2021). Improving suicide prevention through evidenced-based strategies: A systematic review. American Journal of Psychiatry, 178, 611-624.
  7. Pagliaccio, D., Alqueza, K. L., Marsh, R., & Auerbach, R. P. (2020). Brain volume abnormalities in youth at high risk for depression: Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development Study. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 59, 1178-1188.
  8. Auerbach, R. P., Mortier, P., Bruffaerts, R., Alonso, J., Benjet, C., Cuijpers, P., Demyttenaere, K., Ebert, D. D., Green, J. G., Hasking, P., Murray, E., Nock, M. K., Pinder-Amaker, S., Sampson, N. A., Stein, D. A., Vilagut, G., Zaslavsky, A. M., Kessler, R. C., & WHO WMH-ICS Collaborators. (2018). The WHO World Mental Health Surveys International College Student project: Prevalence and distribution of mental disorders. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 127, 623-638.
  9. Auerbach, R. P., Pisoni, A., Bondy, E., Kumar, P., Stewart, J. G., Yendiki, A., & Pizzagalli, D. A. (2017). Neuroanatomical prediction of anhedonia in adolescents. Neuropsychopharmacology, 42, 2087-2095.
  10. Auerbach, R. P., Stanton, C. H., Proudfit, G. H., & Pizzagalli, D. A. (2015). Self-referential processing in depressed adolescents: A high-density event-related potential study. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 124(2), 233-245.