Anissa Abi-Dargham, MD, Named Lourie Endowed Chair in Psychiatry


Dr. Kenneth Kaushansky, Dr. Anissa Abi-Dargham, Robert Lourie, Ivana Stolnik, Dr. Michael Bernstein

L to R: Senior Vice President, Health Sciences and Dean, Renaissance
School of Medicine, Dr. Kenneth Kaushansky; Lourie Endowed Chair in
Psychiatry, Dr. Anissa Abi-Dargham; Robert Lourie; Ivana Stolnik '16;
Interim President, Dr. Michael Bernstein.

Anissa Abi-Dargham, MD, an internationally recognized leader in molecular imaging of the brain functioning related to schizophrenia and concurrent addiction, has been named the Lourie Endowed Chair in Psychiatry. Dr. Abi-Dargham is the inaugural holder of the chair.

Established by Robert Lourie and Ivana Stolnik '16, the Lourie Endowed Chair in Psychiatry, along with their past investments in brain imaging technology and researh on pediatric multiple sclerosis, will accelerate discovery around one of life's enduring mysteries: the workings of the brain.

Since joining Stony Brook Medicine in 2016, Dr. Dargham has been building upon the institution’s storied legacy in imaging, which includes developing the technology that led to the MRI, and ultimately earned the Nobel Prize, and helping to develop the technology for PET scans.

Dr. Dargham uses PET imaging to study the neurobiology of schizophrenia and substance use disorders. Her work seeks to understand the neurobiology of severe mental illnesses, and ultimately to develop new treatments to address them.

“I believe that understanding the brain is as significant a scientific challenge for this century as understanding the atom was for the last,” said Robert Lourie. “Dr. Abi-Dargham’s research on the fundamental pursuit of the brain’s molecular impact also paves the way for better clinical treatments of patients, representing the best synergy between basic and applied science and we’re all very glad she’s here at Stony Brook to do this work.”

As Vice Chair of Research in the Department of Psychiatry, Dr. Dargham oversees all the department’s research endeavors. She also serves as Associate Dean for Clinical and Translational Science at the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University. She directs the Multi-Modal Translational Imaging Lab at Stony Brook and oversees a multidisciplinary team with expertise in multiple neuroimaging modalities used in tandem to address important questions about the brain mechanisms of schizophrenia.  In her roles, she helps foster collaboration across disciplines and mentors our faculty and students. She has mentored more than 20 post-doctoral fellows in her career and placed a major emphasis in her lab on providing mentorship and paths to independence to her mentees.

Most of her distinguished career, which includes more than 20 years at Columbia University in New York, has focused on developing tools to image the neurochemical alterations in the brains of patients with schizophrenia and addictions. More recently, she has expanded her work to encompass multi-modal imaging, and building a team of experts in neurocomputational and neurocognitive disciplines.

Dr. Dargham has been published in more than 160 publications and has served in leadership roles with several national organizations for brain imaging, schizophrenia and neuro-psychopharmacology. She is also the recipient of The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation’s’ most prestigious award, the Lieber Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Schizophrenia Research. She was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2016. She is a special lecturer at Columbia University, where she spent the last 22 years of her career before her move to Stony Brook University in 2016. The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation is the nation’s top non-governmental funder of mental health research grants.

Learn more about Dr. Abi-Dargham’s research and about her expertise in psychiatry.