Anissa Abi-Dargham

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Anissa Abi-Dargham, M.D., is Chief of the Division of Translational Imaging in the Psychiatry Department of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. She also serves as Director of Clinical and Imaging Research in the Lieber Center for Schizophrenia Research, and Director of the Silvio O. Conte Center for the study of "Dopamine Dysfunction in Schizophrenia", both based at the New York State Psychiatric Institute.

Abi-Dargham uses molecular imaging techniques, such as SPECT and PET, to study the pathophysiology of schizophrenia, schizophrenia related spectrum disorders, and addiction. Her work has resulted in seminal publications describing the complex alterations of dopamine transmission in schizophrenia and their relationship to clinical symptoms, cognition and response to treatment, as well as their interrelatedness to glutamate dysfunction in schizophrenia.

These studies showed increased striatal dopamine release in schizophrenia, which has become one of the most established findings of schizophrenia research and is now being tested as a biomarker for risk to develop schizophrenia in prodromal patients.

The work with cortical D1 receptor has provided added rationale for testing D1 agonists in schizophrenia. A new direction for work in her imaging group now is dual diagnosis patients with comorbid schizophrenia and cannabis abuse.

Ultimately this work is relevant to developing biomarkers and more focused treatment interventions for these disorders.

Abi-Dargham has received numerous awards, and published over 120 articles in major scientific journals. She is currently deputy editor of imaging for both neuropsychopharmacology and biological psychiatry and former President of the Brain Imaging Council for the Society of Nuclear Medicine. Additionally, she has a large portfolio of federal, charitable and industry funded studies.