Anissa Abi-Dargham


Anissa Abi-Dargham, MD, is The Lourie Endowed Chair in Psychiatry, Professor of Psychiatry and Radiology, Director of Multi-Modal Translational Imaging Lab, Vice Chair for Research in Department of Psychiatry, Associate Dean for Clinical and Translational Science, Renaissance School of Medicine and Special Lecturer in Psychiatry at Columbia University. She was previously the Chief of the Division of Translational Imaging in the Psychiatry Department at Columbia. She also served 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.




molecular imagery 



  • M.D., Saint Joseph’s University


Abi-Dargham research utilizes molecular imaging techniques (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 cortical deficit. Her work with cortical D1 receptors has provided added rationale for developing and testing D1 agonists in schizophrenia. Another direction for work in her imaging group is dual diagnosis patients with comorbid schizophrenia and cannabis abuse. She and her team found that most drug addictions blunt dopamine release during the chronic phase of drug dependence, which results in poor outcomes. In a popular interview, she explained, "The bottom line is that long-term, heavy cannabis use may impair the dopaminergic system, which could have a variety of negative effects on learning and behavior." She has recently focused on understanding the disconnection between striatal and extrastriatal dopamine in schizophrenia and how this contributes to altered perceptual inference, as a key model for hallucinations and psychosis. 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 180 articles in major scientific journals. She is the deputy editor of imaging for both neuropsychopharmacology and biological psychiatry, Past President of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 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.

In 2016, she was elected to membership in the National Academy of Medicine. She received the Lieber Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Schizophrenia Research from the Brain and behavior Research Foundation in 2018.


Last updated April 29, 2020