Department Head

Inside this issue:

Message from the chair

Upcoming Events

Faculty/Research News

Faculty Recruitment

Education News

Recent Publications

Department Newsletter

Volume 4, Issue 3

June 2017

Message from the Chair

We are entering the summer period with several promising events ahead of us. Our new residents are on campus and getting oriented to intern life. They will begin their clinical responsibilities soon. We are working on new, inter-disciplinary programs with the hospital and while discussions are in their preliminary stages, the initiatives are exciting and patient centered.

On the research front, we are preparing for the Research Extravaganza - talks, poster session and a keynote address on September 28th. Several of our faculty have received awards and recognition for their work and we congratulate them on their accomplishments.

Upcoming Events

Psychiatry Department's Annual Research Extravaganza

Thursday September 28th, 2017

Key note Lecturer 2pm –3pm

Joshua Gordon, MD, PhD

Director, National Institute of Mental Health

(More information will be emailed soon)

Faculty/Research News

Dr. Luan Phan receiving the UI CDR professorship in mood disorders from Dean Azar.



Dr. Mark Rasenick on the mechanism of action of Ketamine – Nature News/Alerts! WT.ec_id=NATURE- 20170504&spMailingID=53985288&spUserID=MTA4MDc1MDA2MzAxS0&spJobID=1160505967&spR eportId=MTE2MDUwNTk2NwS2


A team led by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago, along with collaborators at the University of Michigan and Sage Bionetworks, has won the Mood Challenge for Research Kit, a contest that called on researchers to come up with new ways to study mood disorders using Apple's Research Kit, an open-source platform for creating iOS apps. Congrats to Drs. Leow and Nelson who were also both scheduled to be on the WTTW program, Chicago Tonight (Channel 11), Tuesday, May 23. To discuss the BiAffect Initiative. Below - Drs. Peter Nelson and Alex Leow.



Dr. Marcela Almeida quoted in the Chicago Tribune.


Dr. Amy Lasek received the Young Scientist Award at the International Behavioral and Neural Genetics Society (IBANGS) annual meeting on May 16, 2017 in Madrid, Spain (photo below)



Dr. Alex Leow and Dr. Olu Ajilore will present work from their lab at the Network Neuroscience meeting in Indianapolis, IN on June 20th.



BiAffect in the News:


Chicago Tribune:

Chicago Tonight | WTTW:

Chicago Inno:


Joshua Nathan, MD, FAPA, has been elected as President-Elect of the Illinois Psychiatric Society for 2017-2018, and will serve as President for 2018-2019.

Dr. Graziano Pinna will be a speaker at the first invitation-only "PTSD State of the Science Summit" entitled "Pathophysiology of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Rethinking Drug Targets". Co-hosted by the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity's Neurotrauma and Psychological Health Project Management Office, this Department of Defense-sponsored meeting is scheduled for June 13-14, 2017, at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

In April 2017, Dr. Patricia Graczyk presented a day-long workshop to educators from all-around Kansas on "A Multi-Tiered Approach to Helping Anxious Students."

Antonia Savarese (Dr. Amy Lasek’s lab) received an award for exceptional poster presentation at the Alcoholism and Stress Meeting in Volterra, Italy in May, 2017.

Tiffani Berkel MD/PhD student of Dr. Subhash Pandey received "Society of Biological Psychiatry’s 2017 Predoctoral Scholars Travel Fellowship Award” during annual meeting on May 18-20 at San Diego, CA. She presented research work on DNA and histone methylation in the amygdala and its role in alcohol drinking behaviors.

Evan Kyzay MD/PhD student of Dr. Subhash Pandey received travel award and invited to give oral presentation by The International Behavioural and Neural Genetics Society (Madrid, Spain, May 15-18, 2017). He pre-sented research work on histone demethylases in the amygdala and adolescent alcohol-induced anxiety-like be-haviors in adulthood.

Laura Segura, PhD candidate in Dr. Amynah Pradhan’s lab recently received a research supplement which provides funding for 3 years, under Dr. Pradhan’s R01 grant, which researches the role of delta opioid receptors in trigeminovascular pain.

Laura Segura, PhD also recently received a Provost Deiss Award for Graduate Research to travel and collaborate with leading researchers in Washington University in St. Louis for my thesis project involving post-traumatic headache. She has also been chosen as a Pat Tillman Scholar, and the foundation had a press release showcasing all of the scholars. My interview can be found here:


Faculty Recruitment

Three New Clinician Educators Joining Our Department

We are happy to announce that three outstanding faculty members will join our department over the Summer.

Dr. Melissa Wagner-Schuman was born and raised in Wisconsin and completed most of her training in the Milwaukee area. She went to undergrad at the Milwaukee School of Engineering and graduated with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering. She continued her education at the Medical College of Wisconsin where she received her MD in 2012 and received a PhD in Neuroscience in 2010. During the last several years of medical school she became interested in psychiatry, particularly at risk youth, and developed interventions to help prevent or limit adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). This led her to training in the triple board residency program at Cincinnati Children's Hospital where she will complete her training this upcoming September – she is board certified in Pediatrics. Throughout residency her interest in ACEs continued and broadened to include treatment of the mother-child dyad. As a faculty member she would like to continue to work with women and children and hopefully develop treatment models that help reduce the accumulation of ACEs in families.

Dr. Stephen Pesanti was born in Iowa City but grew up in Connecticut. He graduated from Georgetown University after majoring in Physics and minoring in Biology and Philosophy. He then moved to New York City where he worked as a Day Trader and a Personal Trainer until he went to medical school at St. George's University Medical School in 2006. He graduated from medical school in 2010. He then obtained an M.B.A. in Health Management from St. George's University which he completed in 2014. He completed his psychiatry residency at the Cleveland Clinic, graduating in 2016. He then went on to complete a Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center which he graduated in 2017. He has a keen interest in inpatient psychiatry and ethics and has been involved in teaching and supervision of medical students and residents at both the Cleveland Clinic and the University of Pittsburgh. He will be joining the Mood and Anxiety program.

Dr. Kelley Volpe attended Yale University where she was a research assistant with Dr. James Leckman in the Yale University Child Study Center Tourette and OCD Clinic. She then attended the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine. After graduation from medical school, Dr. Volpe participated in a combined psychiatry residency and child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship which included a research component. She has served both as a Chief Resident and Chief Fellow. Honors received during her training have included the Laughlin Foundation Award for Outstanding Work by a Senior Resident from the UIC Department of Psychiatry and an American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Systems of Care Special Program Clinical Project. After graduation in June of 2017, she will be joining the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry as the Medical Director of the Pediatric Stress and Anxiety Disorders Clinic (PSADC) and as Associate Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Training.

Education Department News

Our Graduates for 2017!


Graduating General Psychiatry Residents

Sarah E. Anderson, M.D.   Laura Craig, M.D.
Eulogio Eclarinal, M.D.   Scott D. Mariouw, M.D.
Ashley Mulvihill, M.D.   Victoria Smrha, M.D
Vanessa A. Stan, M.D.   Emily A. Troyer, M.D.


Graduating General Psychiatry Residents

Matthew L. Dominguez, M.D.    


Graduating Addiction Fellows

Lauren Pace, D.O.   Vasanth Kattalai Kailasam, M.D.


Graduating Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Fellows

Kelley A. Volpe, M.D.   Alexander K. Chevalier, M.D.


Graduating Psychology Interns

Nick Affrunti, Ph.D.   Natania Crane, Ph.D.
Elissa Hamlat, Ph.D.   Erika Manczak, Ph.D.
Meghan Quinn, Ph.D.    


Graduation 2017 Awards:

Adult Residency Program:

Merton Max Gill Faculty Teacher of the Year – Dr. Alex Leow
Laughlin Foundation Outstanding Resident - Dr. Scott Mariouw
Jinger Hoop Ethics in Psychiatry Award – Dr. Eric Cheung for his paper “Informed Consent and Therapeutic Privilege in the Context of Delusions”
Psychiatry Research Writing Award – Dr. John Zulueta for his paper “Predicting Mood Disturbance Severity in Bipolar Subjects with Mobile Phone Keystroke Dynamics and Metadata”
Resident Recruitment Award - “ Dr. Tammy Tamayo


Child Residency Program:

Jay Hirsh Excellence in Teaching Awards – Drs. Ed Cook and Henry Gault



Recent Publications

Jacobs, R.H., Guo, S., Kaundinya, P., Lakind, D., Klein, J., Rusch, D., Walden, A., Mehta, T., & Atkins, M. (in press). A pilot study of mindfulness skills to reduce stress among a diverse paraprofessional workforce. Journal of Child and Family Studies.

Dr. Emma Childs and colleagues was covered by UIC press office and was up-voted over 45K times on reddit; it is in the top 40 submissions of all time on reddit science.

Cook, Razzano, Jonikas and colleagues publish outcomes regarding co-occurring mental health and tobacco use risks:
Swarbrick, M.A., Cook, J.A., Razzano, L.A., Jonikas, J.A., Gao, N., Williams, J. & Yudof, J. (2017). Pre-dictors of current smoking among adults served by the public mental health system. Journal of Dual Diagnosis. DOI: 10.1080/15504263.2017.1296603

Dr. Pauline Maki just had a piece on Menopause, Memory and Alzheimer's Disease published in the Huffington Post 6/7/2017

Locci A and Pinna G. Neurosteroid biosynthesis downregulation and changes in GABAA receptor subu-nit composition: A biomarker axis in stress-induced cognitive and emotional impairment. British Journal of Pharmacology. doi: 10.1111/bph.13843

Rasmusson AM, Marx CE, Pineles SL, Locci A, Scioli-Salter ER, Nillni YI, Liang JJ, Pinna G. Neuroac-tive steroids and PTSD treatment. Neuroscience Letters, 649:156–163 doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2017.01.054