Dr. Gerard Sanacora named the Gross Professor of Psychiatry

Dr. Gerard Sanacora
Dr. Gerard Sanacora (photo by Robert Lisak)

Dr. Gerard Sanacora, newly named as the George D. Gross and Esther S. Gross Professor of Psychiatry, is a translational neuroscientist who specializes in the study of the pathophysiological mechanisms associated with neuropsychiatric disorders, and development of novel treatment strategies. His appointment will be effective on Aug. 1.

Sanacora’s research has largely focused on elucidating the contributions of the amino acid neurotransmitter systems (GABA and Glutamate) to the neurobiology of mood disorders and the mechanism of antidepressant action. His laboratory employs rodent models to explore the pathogenic processes underlying the development of stress-related disorders, and to examine the molecular, cellular and behavioral effects of newly developed treatment strategies. His clinical laboratory employs novel magnetic resonance spectroscopy methodologies and pharmacological challenge paradigms to explore the relationship between abnormal amino acid neurotransmitter system function and neuropsychiatric disorders.

Most recently, Sanacora has served as the principal investigator for several large clinical trials evaluating the safety and antidepressant efficacy of newly developed treatment strategies targeting the amino acid neurotransmitter systems, and has helped introduce these novel treatment approaches to clinical practice through the Yale Interventional Psychiatry Service.

Sanacora completed an NIH-sponsored Medical Scientist Training Program at the State University New York at Stony Brook, earning his Ph.D. in physiology and biophysics in 1992 and his M.D. degree in 1994. He then moved to Yale where he completed his internship at Yale-New Haven Hospital, the Clinical Neuroscientist Training Program Residency in the Department of Psychiatry, and an NIH-funded Neuroimaging Scientist Training Program Fellowship. In addition to his current academic appointment of professor of psychiatry, he serves as director of the Yale Depression Research Program and co-director of the Yale New Haven Hospital Interventional Psychiatry Service.

Sanacora’s honors include the Joel Elkes Research Award for outstanding contributions to Psychopharmacology from the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology and the Anna-Monika-Foundation Award for the investigation of the biological substrate and functional disturbances of depression.