Nov 16, 2023

Dear colleagues,

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Diego A. Pizzagalli, Ph.D., as founding director of the Noel Drury, M.D. Institute for Translational Depression Discoveries. He will join UCI in January 2025 as a faculty member in the departments of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Neurobiology and Behavior, and Biomedical Engineering.

Dr. Pizzagalli comes to UCI from Harvard University and McLean Hospital, where he is the founding director of their Center for Depression, Anxiety and Stress Research as well as the Director of the McLean Imaging Center. He also was the John and Ruth Hazel Associate Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University from 2002 to 2010, when he was recruited to McLean Hospital.

His research integrates a range of approaches to improve understanding of the psychological, environmental and neurobiological factors associated with mood disorders, particularly major depression. He has published over 360 papers and chapters, serves on the editorial board of 13 journals, and is the principal editor of two journals. He has received the Stuart T. Hauser, M.D., Ph.D., Mentorship Award in Psychiatry from Harvard Medical School, the Joel Elkes Research Award from the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, a NARSAD Distinguished Investigator Award, the Anna-Monika Prize for research in the neurobiology and treatment of depressive disorders, and a MERIT award from the National Institute of Mental Health.

Supported by a record $55 million estate gift from philanthropist Audrey Steele Burnand, the Noel Drury, M.D. Institute for Translational Depression Discoveries focuses on innovative approaches to understanding the mechanisms behind depression; improving diagnosis of the disorder; and developing personalized, scalable therapies for it, and, ultimately, better prevention strategies. The institute is governed by an executive committee made up of: Frank LaFerla, Dean of the School of Biological Sciences (Chair); Michael Stamos, Dean of the School of Medicine; Magnus Egerstedt, Dean of The Henry Samueli School of Engineering; and Pramod Khargonekar, Vice Chancellor for Research, who worked together during the search for the founding director. I am grateful to the search team, which was led by Tallie Z. Baram, Distinguished Professor in Pediatrics, Donald Bren Professor and Danette "Dee Dee" Shepard Chair in Neurological Studies.

Through the institute, UCI is poised to conduct innovative transdisciplinary research in many areas – from biology and the health sciences to engineering and the social sciences. Dr. Pizzagalli’s role will include heading the effort to recruit faculty, leading research teams, attracting research grants and building upon the current gift endowment.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Pizzagalli to UCI.


Hal Stern
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Chancellor's Professor, Department of Statistics