The Department of Psychiatry has announced that Rutgers researcher Steven M. Silverstein, Ph.D., will join the University of Rochester Medical Center in January. He has been named the George L. Engel Professor in Psychosocial Medicine and associate chair of Research for the department. Joining Silverstein in Rochester will be colleagues Brian Keane, Ph.D., and Judy Thompson, Ph.D., and additional staff support.
"This is a significant watershed moment for our department," said Psychiatry Chair Hochang B. Lee, M.D., the John Romano Professor of Psychiatry. "The addition of Dr. Silverstein and his team represents a new era of research in etiopathogenesis of major mental illnesses for Psychiatry, in partnership with URMC's Del Monte Neuroscience Institute and the UR Center for Visual Science."
In his current role, Silverstein is professor of Psychiatry and Ophthalmology at Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School; director of Research, and director of the Division of Schizophrenia Research at Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care; as well as co-director of the Rutgers-Princeton Center for Computational Cognitive Neuropsychiatry. He is the former chair of the American Psychological Association's Task Force on Serious Mental Illness and a former executive board member and past president of the Society for Research in Psychopathology.
Silverstein's research involves the development of visual system biomarkers for neuropsychiatric disorders, especially severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia; and the psychological consequences of vision loss. Silverstein and his team consider how schizophrenia develops in patients, pioneering investigations related to biomarkers that can help better understand and identify schizophrenia. His expertise about mechanisms of underlying major mental illness may someday help to identify schizophrenia earlier and help to create more effective treatment models.
This is a homecoming of sorts for Silverstein, who spent his early career, from 1990-99, as a Psychiatry faculty member, beginning as a psychologist with the integrated inpatient unit and partial hospitalization program, then serving as chief psychologist with the day treatment program and research director of University Services Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program at the Rochester Psychiatric Center.
"I am very much looking forward to becoming part of the University of Rochester community, and to taking on the role of Associate Chair for Research in Psychiatry. I also feel honored to have been granted the George Engel endowed professorship," Silverstein said.
"My moving to Rochester is both professionally and personally very meaningful for me. I began my career at the University and I am excited to resume working with longstanding friends and colleagues, and to begin forging new relationships. Along with Dr. Lee and others, I plan to build bridges between Psychiatry and other departments both at the medical school and on the River Campus, and to assist both individual faculty and the department as a whole in accelerating their research efforts."
Brian Keane will be an assistant professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at URMC. He currently is an assistant professor of Psychiatry at Rutgers--Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, with institutional affiliations at University Behavioral Health Care and the Rutgers Center for Cognitive Science. He employs visual psychophysics and brain imaging (fMRI) to investigate visual object perception -- both how it goes right in healthy people and how it becomes disturbed in those with serious mental illness.
Judy Thompson will be an assistant professor of Psychiatry. She currently is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Counseling Professions at Rutgers University, and her primary research activities take place in the Department of Psychiatry and University Behavioral Health Care.