Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Research

The UMass Department of Psychiatry (University of Massachusetts Medical School, UMass Memorial Health Care) is committed to outstanding patient-centered research, leading to the development of novel treatment approaches and seamless delivery of care. The department is committed to translational science with a broad portfolio of active research projects, including basic science, clinical psychiatry, service delivery and epidemiology. The primary goal of the department's diverse research portfolio is to understand the complex interactions among the brain, body and mind, and to unlock the mysteries of the causes, prevention and treatment of mental illness and addiction across the life span. 

Our Basic Science Research

We are internationally known for our neurobiological research, which focuses on the molecular mechanisms of psychiatric diseases and takes place in the Brudnick Neuropsychiatric Research Institute. Here, researchers are working on cutting edge cellular, molecular and genetic approaches to understanding psychiatric diseases.  The Center for Comparative NeuroImaging (CCNI) houses ultra high-field magnetic resonance (MR) imaging spectrometers for use in the study of mental illness. 

Our Clinical and Translational Research

The Psychiatry Department houses a state of the art Center for Psychopharmacologic Research and Treatment, with a special focus on mood and anxiety disorders and schizophrenia, and conducts research on new and more effective pharmacological treatments. We also have an internationally known Law and Psychiatry program with faculty studying cutting edge topics including competence to consent to or refuse treatment, violence risk assessment, forensic mental health service delivery, coercion in clinical treatment, identification of mental health needs of youths in juvenile justice settings, and juveniles' competence to stand trial.  The Medical School also has an outstanding portfolio of research in the areas of addictions, child and adolescent mental health, and women’s health. 

The department has developed The Mental Health Agency Research Network (MHARN), a partnership between SPARC, the Department of Mental Health, and providers of mental health services across the Commonwealth who work together on new research topics and provide knowledge and new findings to community based providers. The Child and Adolescent Neurodevelopment Initiative (CANDI) is committed to improving the lives of mentally ill youths and their families through neuroimaging and treatment studies, community outreach, and novel collaborative research practices.

Our Health Services Research

The Systems and Psychosocial Advances Research Center (formerly Center for Mental Health Services Research or CMHSR) is one of two centers funded by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health. It is an internationally recognized academic center that conducts research on the etiology, structure, effectiveness, and delivery of services for individuals with mental health conditions, and has a broad mission of improving the lives of individuals with psychiatric conditions. 

The research at our academic partner, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center in Waltham, Mass., aims to search out and understand the environmental and biological processes that influence behavioral development. The goals of the research are to optimize functioning and improve the lives of people with autism and other developmental disabilities and their families.

Global Health

The Department of Psychiatry is committed to global health, and investigators within the department collaborate with researchers from around the world. 

Departmental Research Training and Support

Our department’s Career Development and Research Office supports faculty and staff through the creation of learning communities, mentoring partnerships, research collaborations, and career development assistance. Visit the Career Development and Research Office webpage for forms and materials that may be helpful to researchers.