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Currently Chief Resident for Research in Psychiatry on the Physician-Scientist track at Mount Sinai (PGY-4) and Instructor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Neuroscience. Applying principles in neuroeconomics in combination with neuromodulation techniques translated across species to study complex decision-making changes in psychiatric disorders. The core of my scientific expertise lies in decision neuroscience built on principles of neuroeconomics. This emerging field seeks to quantify how the physical limits of the brain constrain the way in which affective states and cognitive biases drive complex behavior, particularly when our choices deviate from normality or might not be in our own best interests. My clinical interests have evolved to encompass the complex changes in decision-making information processing that could go awry in mood and substance use disorders. This novel intersection of the fields of neuroeconomics and psychiatry is at its early stages, and I believe virtually all psychiatric disorders are decision-making disorders in some capacity. Rooted in concepts of computational psychiatry born out of NIH’s pleas to radically change translational research, I have been building my independent research platform integrating neuroeconomics and circuit neuroscience across species and alongside my clinical practice.


I’m a first-generation Arab American born and raised in Chicago, IL. I completed my undergraduate training at Loyola University Chicago (2008-2012), with double majors in biology and psychology and double minors in neuroscience and philosophy. My first research experience was in a neuroendocrinology lab with Louis Lucas, PhD studying the role of stress hormones in simple anxiety- and memory-related behaviors in rats. I also worked in a human EEG lab studying analogical reasoning with Robert Morrison, PhD. Next, I moved to Minneapolis and completed my dual MD/PhD training at the University of Minnesota (2012-2020) with a PhD in neuroscience co-advised by David Redish, PhD and Mark Thomas, PhD studying decision making from a neuroeconomics approach in mice and rats. I developed a novel foraging task in mice capable of extracting behavioral and neurophysiological correlates of complex psychological constructs such as “regret.” My PhD work incorporated in vivo optogenetics and ex vivo slice electrophysiology combined with addiction models to demonstrate how dissociable decision-making circuits in the brain rewire in response to different drugs of abuse. In collaboration with clinical psychologist Angus MacDonald, PhD, we translated this task for use in humans and discovered there is a conserved evolutionary history to cognitive biases that arise from similar neural systems across species, including sensitivity to “sunk costs,” which was previously thought to be unique to humans. Recently, I moved to New York City to start my residency training in the department of psychiatry at Mount Sinai (2020-present). I am currently a fourth-year psychiatry resident in the physician-scientist track, chief resident for research, splitting my time seeing patients 1-2 days a week while also an instructor in both the departments of neuroscience and psychiatry continuing my basic science and translational research in neuroeconomics the rest of the time. I have been able to set up my own independent research program concurrent with residency, mentored by and collaborating with Eric Nestler, MD, PhD, Scott Russo, PhD, Helen Mayberg, MD, Denise Cai, PhD, Jessica Ables, MD, PhD, and others, incorporating new techniques in molecular and systems neuroscience while studying how complex decision systems go awry in mood disorders. This line of work, in parallel with my clinical practice as a psychiatrist, will remain the focus of my lab moving forward.


INSTRUCTOR | Department of Neuroscience, Department of Psychiatry


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