Society of Biological Psychiatry Honors Pitt Researcher

By: Ashley Trentrock

Susanne AhmariSusanne Ahmari, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh and director of the Translational OCD Laboratory, recently received the Society of Biological Psychiatry’s (SOBP) A. E. Bennett Research Award in basic research for 2016 at the organization’s annual scientific assembly.

Each year, SOBP honors one young investigator in basic science with the purpose of stimulating international research in biological psychiatry.

“I am honored to receive this award and thankful for the Society’s support,” Dr. Ahmari said.  “It’s fantastic that through this award, SOBP highlights the importance of basic neuroscience research for understanding neuropsychiatric disease and ultimately developing new treatments.”

After earning her medical and Ph.D. degrees at Stanford University and completing her residency in psychiatry at Columbia University, Dr. Ahmari began full-time research on obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Through her research, Dr. Ahmari performs translational studies that bridge findings in OCD patients with animal models. This work includes using optogenetic technology to test the role of cortico-striatal circuits in OCD pathology and treatment, and in vivo microscopy to directly observe how the brain changes as abnormal compulsive behaviors evolve.

In addition, she is interested in dissecting the circuit-level mechanism of action of deep brain stimulation using transgenic animal models of OCD, and identifying neural plasticity mechanisms underlying perseverative behaviors.

The SOBP A. E. Bennett Research Award was established in 2005.