New Faculty Hires to Focus on Neuroscience of Anxiety and Depression

October 15, 2013 – Provost Dennis Assanis, PhD announced last week that three departments — Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Psychology, and Neurobiology — have jointly received approval to hire three new faculty members to study the biological bases of anxiety and depression as part of the University’s Faculty Cluster Hiring Initiative. The project, titled Clinical Affective Neuroscience of Anxiety and Depression (CANAD), will enable the creation of a multi-disciplinary team of scholars collaborating to study affective disorders in humans and animal models.

The project, with a start-up budget of just under $3 million, will be led by Greg Hajcak, PhD of the Department of Psychology, a frequent collaborator with the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science. The new tenure track positions, which will be at the level of Assistant Professor or early Associate Professor, will include a psychologist with expertise in the development of the neural substrates of threat and reward processing systems, a psychiatrist with expertise in psychopharmacology related to anxiety and depressive disorders, and a neuroscientist with expertise in functional neuroimaging.

The hires are designed to leverage existing strengths in the three departments related to the origins and treatment of affective disorders. One goal of the project is to position the University to apply for a National Institute of Mental Health Conte Center grant to create a program of research that advances brain and behavior science by integrating basic and clinical research.

The faculty cluster hiring initiative was first announced by University President Samuel L. Stanley, MD in 2012 with the goal of hiring 250 new faculty over the next five years. CANAD is one of five interdisciplinary clusters selected for funding from 18 proposals received.