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Clinical Electives Program: Psychiatry/Clinical Neuroscience

Fall, Winter, and Spring Sessions. Four- to Eight-Week Session

Rotation Coordinator:
Carlos Zarate Jr, MD

Rotation Description
This course is an advanced four- to eight-week elective in the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) open only to students who will have completed their initial rotation/clerkship in psychiatry before arriving at NIH.

A wide variety of psychiatric and neuropsychiatric disorders are studied at the NIH Clinical Center. Adult and child patients with unipolar and bipolar affective disorder and adults with schizophrenia can be admitted to the inpatient program.

Our course emphasizes an understanding of current integrated research approaches to the biologic mechanisms involved in psychiatric illness and novel therapies. Diagnostic and interventional approaches include:

  • The importance of clinical phenomenology, family history assessment, and neuropsychiatric evaluation;
  • The use of brain imaging techniques to study central nervous system (CNS) structure and function such as Positron Emission Tomography (PET), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI), and Magnetoencephalography (MEG);
  • Neuroendocrine clinical evaluations related to mood;
  • Non-invasive neuromodulation (e.g. TMS, ECT, MST);
  • Pharmacologic studies including the use of investigational and non-investigational therapeutic drugs;
  • Non-pharmacologic studies such as sleep deprivation or structured therapies;
  • Research with high-risk populations such as individuals at acute suicide risk.

Each student will join a senior investigator who will serve as the student's preceptor. Students may also work with clinical associates or other staff on one of the clinical research units. An individually based tutorial program emphasizing research approaches to a specific disorder, study methodology or a particular aspect of drug effect evaluation (e.g., katamine infusion in suicide) will be planned with the student. Students will participate in the psychiatric and neurologic evaluation on assigned patients as well as in regular clinical research unit meetings, rounds, and seminars. Students will also have the opportunity to observe the implementation of the latest techniques (e.g., imaging, electrophysiology) in the study of neuropsychiatric illnesses.


  • Elizabeth Ballard, PhD
  • Karen Berman, MD
  • Daniel Eisenberg, MD
  • Robert Innis, MD
  • Sarah Lisanby, MD
  • Bruce Luber, PhD
  • Pedro Martinez, MD
  • Larry Park, MD
  • Armin Raznahan, MD, PhD
  • Argyris Stringaris, MD, PhD
  • Peter Schmidt, MD
  • Carlos Zarate, Jr., MD

For more information, see the NIMH website.

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This page last updated on 11/04/2022

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