Clinical Research

The Bipolar Clinic & Research Program (BCRP) has three missions at our clinic. We are dedicated to providing quality clinical care, conducting clinically informative research, and educating our colleagues, our patients, as well as the greater community about bipolar disorder.

Research Registry

To join the BCRP's Volunteer Research Registry, e-mail your contact information to BCRPnewsletter@partners.org
Our Staff

Psychiatrists |  Psychotherapists |  Clinical Research CoordinatorsPsychiatrists

Andrew A Nierenberg MD
Dr. Andrew Nierenberg graduated from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, Bronx, New York and his residency in psychiatry at New York University/Bellevue Hospital in New York City. After completing his training, he became a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at Yale University to study clinical epidemiology. He moved to Boston to join the faculty at Harvard to direct the Affective Disorders Outpatient Unit at McLean Hospital. In 1992, Dr. Nierenberg then joined the Psychopharmacology Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital where he is currently Director of the Bipolar Program, Associate Director of the Depression Clinical and Research Program, Director of the MGH Clinical Research Program Support and Education Units, and Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. His primary interests are in comparative effectiveness studies of mood disorders and development of interventions to treat mood disorders.

In 2013, Dr. Nierenberg’s work was recognized by the Brain and Behavior Foundation Colvin Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Mood Disorders Research. He and his colleagues are currently putting together the Mood Patient Powered Research Network (Mood PPRN) as part of the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute Network (PCORnet). The main aim of the Mood PPRN is to bring together at least 50,000 patients with mood disorders who will be willing and able to participate in prospective comparative effectiveness studies and provide longitudinal data through their electronic medical record and patient recorded outcomes.

Astrid Desrosiers MD, MPH
Astrid Desrosiers, MD, MPH is an Assistant Professor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. She obtained her medical degree from the State university of Haiti. She completed her training in Psychiatry at the Cambridge Hospital Adult Psychiatry Training Program. She completed her training in Adult Psychiatry through the Harvard Medical School Consolidated Training Program: Harvard South Shore Training Program and Cambridge Hospital in 1995. Dr. Desrosiers has a Master in Public health and a certificate in Global Mental health from Harvard University. She is presently on staff of the Bipolar Disorder and Research program of the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston where she is involved in clinical research and treatment of patients. Dr. Desrosiers is the Medical Director of the Haitian Mental Health Clinic at the Cambridge Health Alliance in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Dr. Desrosiers is also a Lecturer in Psychiatry at the University of Cape Coast Health and Medical Sciences, Cape Coast, Ghana, Africa. She is a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Her major research interests include psychopharmacology, the role of psychosocial factors in the treatment of Mood Disorders, health disparities and the impact of Multicultural issues on patient care. Her latest awards include the 2010 Kenneth B Schwartz Center Compassionate Care Giver Award, 2010 Special Recognition for Dedication to Psychiatry and Medical Education by the Massachusetts Association for Mental Health, 2010 Deep Appreciation for helping Haitians and their families by the Boston Association of Haitian Women, and the 2011 Heart & Soul Honoree for making the world “healthier, wealthier and wiser.”

Ji Hyun Baek, MD
Ji Hyun graduated from the school of medicine at Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul, Korea. She finished her master’s degree and is currently a PhD. candidate in Medical Science there. She did her residency and clinical fellowships in psychiatry at Samsung Medical Center in Seoul, Korea. In Korea, Ji Hyun’s research is mainly focused on finding biologically/genetically homogenous phenotypes in schizophrenia/bipolar disorder. Currently, she is interested in behavioral economics of bipolar disorder, treatment-resistant depression, and depression in youth.

Sharmin Ghaznavi, MD, Ph.D
Dr. Sharmin Ghaznavi graduated from the Yale University School of Medicine Medical Scientist Training Program. She holds a Ph.D. in Neuroscience and M.A. in Philosophy. Dr. Ghaznavi completed her adult psychiatry residency training at the MGH/McLean Adult Psychiatry Residency Training Program, where she was a resident in the Research Concentration Opportunity. In addition to serving as a staff psychiatrist at the BCRP, she received both the Dupont-Warren and Livingston fellowships to pursue research examining the neural correlates of rumination in bipolar disorder. In addition to serving as a staff psychiatrist at the BCRP, Dr. Ghaznavi is pursuing research on the neural correlates of rumination in bipolar disorder, made possible by the Dupont-Warren and Livingston Harvard Psychiatry Research Fellowships and a NARSAD Young Investigator Award.

Michael Henry, MD
Michael Henry, MD assumed the position of Medical Director in April of 2012. Before coming to the BCRP, he was the vice-president for mental health at Steward Health Chair and the Chairman of Psychiatry at St. Elizabeth's Medical Center, as well as an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Tufts Medical School. Dr. Henry’s research interests have been focused on the use of brain imaging techniques to study mood disorders and facilitate drug discovery. He has published over 25 journal articles and book chapters. He has presented his work both nationally and internationally. In addition to research, Dr. Henry enjoys teaching. He received recognition for his outstanding teaching from the Tuft’s University Medical Students and received the annual teaching award from the St. Elizabeth's Psychiatry Residents in 2010. As the Medical Director, he is excited to be continuing his work in teaching, direct patient care, as well as expand his research activities at this institution with world-class collaborators.

Gustavo Kinrys, MD
Dr. Kinrys is a graduate from the Mayo Clinic Graduate School and the Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Kinrys was the Director of the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Research Program and the Psychopharmacology Research Program, and the Medical Director of the Portuguese Mental Health Clinic at the Cambridge Health Alliance, Harvard Medical School for 9 years. Following that, he returned to MGH to become the Associate Medical Director of the MGH Clinical Trials Network and Institute (CTNI), Bipolar Clinic and Research Program (BCRP), Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School. Currently, Dr. Kinrys is an investigator in studies for the National Institutes of Mental Health and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) involving the course of Bipolar disorder and Major depressive disorder. He is also an investigator in numerous phase I, phase II, and phase III clinical trials sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry. He has published over 100 articles, reviews and posters and he lectures in national and international forums. Dr. Kinrys has been the principal investigator in over 80 clinical trials. His areas of interest include treatment resistant depression, bipolar and anxiety disorders, development of novel pharmacologic agents for mood and anxiety disorders, cross-cultural and minority issues in clinical trials, and uses of natural remedies alone and combined with conventional pharmacologic therapies for treatment-refractory patients.

Brian Schulman, MD
Brian Schulman, MD trained at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine and completed his adult psychiatry residency in the Harvard-affiliated joint MGH/McLean program in 2012.  Since that time, he has been on staff at the BCRP as a clinical psychiatrist with an interest in combining psychopharmacological treatment of Bipolar disorder with psychotherapeutic approaches. He is also pursuing advanced training in psychoanalytic psychotherapy from the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute.

Gary S Sachs MD
Gary S. Sachs was the founder and director of the Bipolar Clinic and Research Program and an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School until 2010. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Maryland Medical School, he completed his residency at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Psychotherapists

Thilo Deckersbach Ph.D
Dr. Deckersbach is the Director of Psychology in the Bipolar Disorder Clinic and Research Program at MGH and the Director of Research in the Division of Neurotherapeutics at MGH. He is also the Director of the MGH Graduate Student Division at MGH, which includes over 350 graduate students from local and international graduate schools. He is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Deckersbach graduated from the Philipps University Marburg, Germany in 2000 and completed his clinical psychology internship in the Cognitive-Behavior Science Track at the Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. He specializes in psychosocial treatments and neuroimaging of bipolar disorder.

Louisa Grandin Sylvia Ph.D.
Dr. Sylvia is a staff psychologist and Associate Director of Psychology at Bipolar Clinic and Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Sylvia’s major research interests are developing psychosocial interventions for bipolar disorder, particularly improving the management of exercise, nutrition, and sleep in this clinical population. Dr. Sylvia has published many peer-reviewed manuscripts in her area of specialization, co-authored a workbook for Bipolar II Disorder and another on Wellness for Bipolar Disorder, as well as presented her work at numerous local, national and international conferences. Additionally, Dr. Sylvia is dedicated to patient care. She is a trained Cognitive-Behavioral Therapist and maintains an active caseload of individuals with bipolar disorder. Dr. Sylvia received her Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. She received her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA and completed her psychology internship at McLean Hospital in Belmont, MA.

 

Noreen Reilly-Harrington Ph.D.
Noreen Reilly-Harrington, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School and is an internationally recognized expert in the cognitive-behavioral treatment of mood and anxiety disorders, with a particular expertise in treating bipolar disorder.  She has co-authored several books on bipolar disorder, including "Bipolar Disorder: A Cognitive Therapy Approach," "Living with Bipolar Disorder: A Guide for Individuals and Families," and "The Bipolar II Disorder Workbook: Managing Recurring Depression, Hypomania, and Anxiety." She has served as the Director of Training and Assessment for the Bipolar Trials Network and has consulted on numerous studies to improve the reliability of clinical assessments. 

In addition to her work at the MGH Bipolar Clinic and Research Program, she also serves on the staff of the MGH Weight Center, with a special focus on the treatment of obesity and eating disorders in individuals with mood disorders.  Prior to arriving at MGH 18 years ago, she earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Pennsylvania and her doctoral degree at Temple University. She trained in cognitive therapy under the direction of Dr. Aaron T. Beck at the Center for Cognitive Therapy, University of Pennsylvania and at the Beck Institute for Cognitive Therapy and Research. She completed both her pre-doctoral internship and post-doctoral fellowship in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy at MGH/Harvard Medical School and is a Founding Fellow in the Academy of Cognitive Therapy.

Lori Eisner Ph.D.
Lori Eisner, Ph.D. is a staff psychologist in the outpatient psychiatry department.  Dr. Eisner earned her doctoral degree from the University of Miami in 2010, following the completion of her internship at Massachusetts General Hospital in the Cognitive Behavioral Scientist Track. She specializes in cognitive behavioral treatment of mood disorders, in particular bipolar disorder, and in dialectical behavioral therapy for borderline personality disorder and problems with emotional dysregulation.  In her clinical practice, Dr. Eisner works with clients to develop an understanding the relationship between thoughts, feelings and behaviors, to challenge thoughts and assumptions, to identify beliefs about the self, and to learn new strategies and coping techniques. She draws on her experience and training in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and dialectical behavior therapy to improve emotion regulation.

Kristen K. Ellard, Ph.D.
Kristen K. Ellard, PhD is a Clinical Fellow in Psychology at the BCRP. She completed her doctoral training at Boston University, and her Clinical Internship in Psychology at MGH. Her clinical work focuses on the use of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for the treatment of anxiety and mood disorders. Dr. Ellard’s primary research interests are in the investigation of new CBT approaches to the treatment of bipolar disorder with co-occurring anxiety disorders, characterizing neural mechanisms of change in cognitive behavioral therapy, and exploring neural correlates of transdiagnostic versus disorder-specific cognitive and affective processing in the emotional disorders.

Clinical Research Coordinators

Alexandra Gold, B.A.
Alexandra graduated from Georgetown University in May 2014 with honors in psychology and as a member of the Psi Chi honor society. While at Georgetown, she worked in Dr. Yulia Chentsova Dutton’s Culture and Emotions Lab where she conducted her senior thesis research on somatization among Chinese-American and European-American women. During her senior year, Alexandra also worked at the National Institutes of Health in Dr. Jack Yanovski’s Section on Growth and Obesity where she conducted research that examined whether a group program aimed at improving mood could also improve insulin resistance among adolescent girls at risk for type II diabetes. Alexandra completed a summer internship in 2013 at McLean Hospital in Dr. Scott Lukas’s Behavioral Psychopharmacology Research Laboratory where she assisted with studies focusing on alcohol dependence, drug abuse, and smoking cessation. She is particularly interested in researching mood and anxiety disorders, as well as the treatment and prevention of addiction. After her time at Massachusetts General Hospital, Alexandra plans to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology.

Casey Hearing, B.A.
Casey graduated with honors from Skidmore College in May 2014 with a B.A. in Neuroscience and Psychology and also as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. As an undergraduate, Casey worked in the lab of Dr. Robert Hallock, where she helped develop a predictive scale for the severity of the human gag reflex. Additionally, Casey worked with Dr. Sarita Lagalwar investigating protein degradation mechanisms of wild type and mutant proteins in the neurodegenerative disease Spinocerebellar Ataxia Type 1. During the summer of 2013, Casey worked in the inpatient children’s ward of Four Winds Mental Hospital, where she assisted in group therapy and in a classroom setting. Casey is interested in anxiety disorders as well as the development of early intervention treatments for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. After her time at the BCRP, Casey hopes to attend graduate school in clinical psychology.

Rebecca Montana, B.S.
Rebecca graduated from Brandeis University in May 2014 with a B.S. in Neuroscience, Psychology, and Biology and a minor in Health: Science, Society, and Policy and as a member of Psi Chi honor society. As an undergraduate, she worked in Dr. Paul Garrity’s genetics lab, conducting research on thermal and chemical sensation in Drosophila. Rebecca also interned at Dr. Mel Feany’s biology lab at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, completing a project on a Drosophila model of the neurodegenerative disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. As a senior, she interned at McLean Hospital with Dr. Throstur Bjorgvinsson and Dr. Courtney Beard at the Behavioral Health Partial Hospital Program, investigating Cognitive Bias Modification techniques in depressed individuals. Rebecca is interested in pursuing a degree in medicine after her training at the BCRP.

Margaret E. Gigler, B.A.
Margaret graduated cum laude from Wake Forest University in 2014 with a B.A. in psychology with honors. Her research experience began in Dr. Best’s developmental lab, where she looked at differences in filial responsibilities between Anglo and Hispanic children and the effects of those responsibilities on academic and global self-esteem. She spent the summer of 2012 at The Family Institute (TFI) at Northwestern University where she assisted Dr. Tamara Goldman Sher with editing and compiling research for her book on couples and heart disease. While at TFI, she also worked with Dr. Richard Zinbarg on a study that was looked at psychotherapy outcomes for patients who had been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, specifically looking at their partner’s criticisms and the type of criticism as a dependent variable. Finally, she spent a summer at Wake Forest as part of the Research Fellowship Program with Dr. Fleeson looking at the quality of life of individuals who exhibited symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder. Maggie hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and current clinical research interests are in helping those afflicted by eating disorders and depression.