Research Centers & Interdisciplinary Programs
The department has 18 Centers in total, five of which are NIH-funded. The function of Centers in the Department of Psychiatry is to foster research on a given disorder or population, utilizing any and all relevant expertise from the 12 Research Areas, and drawing on resources from any of the Clinical Divisions and Research Cores.
Columbia University-Funded Programs
The Sackler Institute for Developmental Psychobiology provides intellectual, organizational, and financial resources to our 20 Institute faculty with the goal of furthering our understanding of normal developmental trajectories and how these healthy processes can be derailed. The Institute takes a broad view of neurodevelopment with research programs spanning preclinical mouse models to human development to translational epidemiologic/population studies. Our research programs include human fetal development, infant sleep, autism, child cognitive and emotional development, adolescent depression and suicide, human genetics, and brain imaging. Our basic science faculty are actively investigating the role of early life stress on neural function, cognitive function, and brain organization, and the effects of early perturbations of serotonin signaling on brain structure, function and behavior, among other research. Our population studies examine the effects of high and low risk of depression on outcomes in families, socio-economic effects on child development, as well as maternal medication used during pregnancy on offspring outcomes.
The goal of CHOSEN is to foster cross-disciplinary collaboration across the entire University and reduce the negative health consequences caused by opioid and other substance use disorders. Integral to this mission is to promote research in social determinants of health associated with addiction and address health and racial inequities. Working across disciplines and departments, CHOSEN is committed to fostering the next generation of addiction scientists.
The Lyme and Tick-borne Diseases Research Center (LTBDRC) was established as the first academic research center in the country to focus multidisciplinary research on the persistent symptoms that plague patients with Lyme disease. The Center's mission is to identify better treatments, more sensitive diagnostic tests, and biomarkers that predict treatment response.
Reiner Center for Behavioral and Psychosomatic Medicine supports a broad variety of projects in basic research, clinical care, and teaching at the intersection of mind, brain, behavior, and physical illness. Studies address 1) how psychosocial and behavioral factors, such as depression, anger and hostility, stress, exercise, and diet, heavily contribute to whether people remain healthy or become sick 2) how experiences during pregnancy—depression, stress, medication use, and nutrition—shape fetal and infant neurobehavioral development, with implications for the future child’s mental health 3) the role of mitochondrial biology, stress neuroendocrinology, aging, computational social neuroscience, network science, and mitochondrial medicine in health and illness 4) how early immune, brain, and neuropsychological factors influence childhood psychiatric health.
The Center’s mission is the Study of Quality of Life in Health and Aging: searching for the underlying choices and choosing processes that enable the formation, maintenance, and repair of personally desired Qualities of Life.
The Center for OCD and Related Disorders seeks to transform how we diagnose and treat OCD and related disorders through research and its translation to clinical practice. For the patients of today, we use clinical trials to test novel treatments and collaborate with health services researchers and state mental health authorities to improve access to and delivery of OCD care. For the patients of tomorrow, we work with experts in neuroimaging and genetics to examine what causes OCD and anxiety, with the ultimate goal of developing novel interventions and paving the way to prevention and cures.
The Neuroscience of Mental Disorders: The Neurobiology of Suicidal Behavior (Conte Center) is dedicated to the investigation of clinical and neurobiological correlates of suicidal behavior across the life cycle. The Center has successfully tested a predictive model for suicidal behavior in a prospective study and identified much detail about the role of the serotonin system in the diathesis for suicidal behavior. It has also identified a role for certain genes in modulating environmental effects (life events and childhood adversity) on suicidal behavior.
As part of a national network of 8 regional and 2 national centers, the Northeast/Caribbean AIDS Education and Training Center (NECA AETC) conducts targeted, multi-disciplinary education and training programs and capacity building assistance for healthcare providers and systems treating persons living with HIV/AIDS. NECA AETC covers USDHHS Region II (NJ, NY, PR, USVI). The AETC facilitates the translation of the latest clinical and behavioral research and evidence informed interventions into practice. Its training approach includes building provider knowledge and skills, working with clinics for practice transformation initiatives, and integrating HIV into the curricula and rotations of health profession schools with an interprofessional education perspective. The overall goal is to build the capacity to provide accessible, high-quality treatment and service that addresses HIV and its comorbidities and improves outcomes along the HIV Continuum of Care.
The OPAL Center is named after its goal of Optimizing and Personalizing interventions for people with schizophrenia Across the Lifespan. To address core problems in the treatment of schizophrenia, OPAL adapts and tests scalable interventions that are personalized to meet the needs of individuals. The goal of OPAL is to accelerate the development and implementation of effective, individualized treatments for schizophrenia in real clinical settings.
The HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies, guided by the theme, “The Science of Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic (EtE): Efficacy to Effectiveness at Scale,” is focused on implementation research and research at the intersection of behavioral, social, and biomedical sciences. Our research addresses (1) individual vulnerabilities – mental illness, substance use, and gender and health disparities – that facilitate risk and hinder adherence to prevention and care (2) the integration of behavioral and social science to maximize the potential of biomedical prevention and treatment technologies and (3) effective translation of research into “real-world” practice to close the gap among research, policy, and practice.
Center for Research on Ethical, Legal & Social Implications of Psychiatric, Neurologic & Behavioral Genetics (NHGRI)
The Center for Research on the Ethical, Legal and Social Implications of Psychiatric, Neurologic and Behavioral (PNB) Genetics is 5 Centers of Excellence in Ethical, Legal and Social Implications Research funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute. We pursue research that explores the impact of PNB genetic information at the individual, familial, and societal levels, considering its effect on stigma and self-image, attributions of responsibility, and responses to ambiguity, along with systematic consideration of the broader normative and translational implications of our findings.
The Clinical Cognitive Computational Neuroscience Center focuses on human cognitive neuroscience—understood broadly to encompass affective and computational neuroscience—applied to psychiatric questions in the Department of Psychiatry. The central premise of this Center will be to develop and apply theory-driven computational and cognitive neuroscience approaches to dissecting the brain-behavior relationships that are critical for elucidating the dysfunctions underlying psychopathology. To achieve this goal, the Center is focused on three core missions: 1) research into computational and cognitive neuroscience approaches to understanding psychiatric disorders, 2) developing and maintaining collaborations with various affiliated independent labs, and 3) training of a new group of investigators on how to use these techniques.
At the core of the Center’s mission is the training of psychiatrists and psychologist to develop their clinical skills. Programs include postgraduate training in adult, adolescent, and child psychoanalysis; adult and child psychodynamic psychotherapy; transference-focused psychotherapy; and parent-infant psychotherapy. The Center has a special interest in advancing the careers of young clinicians and scholars through our psychology externship and psychoanalytic fellowship.
The Lieber Center for Schizophrenia Research was established in 1999 as a scientific multidisciplinary schizophrenia research program. The Center brings together basic scientists and clinical researchers to focus synergistically on understanding the etiology of schizophrenia and its underlying developmental, molecular, and circuit mechanisms, as well on the discovery and development of new and improved treatments.
The Center for Intergenerational Psychiatry (CIP) at Columbia focuses on the burgeoning field of intergenerational transmission in psychiatry, aiming to examine pathways by which risk can be passed from one generation to the next. We aim to promptly translate scientific information into strategies to decrease risk and illness, promoting health and resilience in individuals, families, and their communities. With an interdisciplinary program of research working throughout development, from the prenatal period to childhood and beyond, CIP stands to significantly broaden the opportunities for intervention and prevention aimed at safeguarding children’s mental health.
The Center, affiliated with the Anxiety Disorders Clinic, is one of the few research centers in the country focused on cultural competence that is connected directly with a mental health authority. We focus on six research initiatives consisting of over 20 projects: culturally effective diagnosis and assessment, language access, social determinants of mental health, integration of physical and mental health, suicide prevention, and first-episode psychosis.