The Department of Psychiatry Welcomes Three New Faculty Members

Pitt Psychiatry extends a warm welcome to three new faculty members who have joined our Department:

Kristen Eckstrand, MD, PhD (Assistant Professor of Psychiatry)
Dr. Eckstrand earned her MD and her PhD in neuroscience from Vanderbilt University. She completed residency training in adult psychiatry and a fellowship in child psychiatry at UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital. She then joined the Pitt Department of Psychiatry as a postdoctoral scholar in the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)-funded Innovative Methods in Pathogenesis and Child Treatment (IMPACT) T32 training program under the mentorship of Erika Forbes, PhD (Professor of Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Psychology and Clinical and Translational Science), and Mary Phillips, MD, MD (Cantab) (Pittsburgh Foundation Emmerling Endowed Chair in Psychotic Disorders and Professor of Psychiatry and Clinical and Translational Science). 

Dr. Eckstrand’s research focuses on the neural circuitry underlying emotional abuse and depression in sexual minority youth. She currently leads an NIMH K23 career development awards that integrates cognitive and social theories of depression with affective neuroscience to explore how emotional abuse impacts neural systems underlying low self-worth and negative self-focus characteristics of depression in sexual minority youth, using task-based functional and diffusion MRI to examine the impact of emotional abuse on reward processing neural systems.

H. Matthew Lehrer, PhD (Assistant Professor of Psychiatry)
Dr. Lehrer received his PhD in health behavior and health education with concentrations in nutritional sciences and quantitative methods from the University of Texas at Austin. Upon earning his doctorate, Dr. Lehrer joined the Pitt Department of Psychiatry as a postdoctoral scholar in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute-funded Translational Research Training in Sleep Medicine T32 training program under the mentorship of Martica Hall, PhD (Professor of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Clinical and Translational Science), and Christopher Kline, PhD (Associate Professor of Health & Human Development).

Dr. Lehrer’s research examines the effects of long-term sleep and circadian disruption on biological and cognitive aging. As principal investigator of a National Institute on Aging K01 career development award, he is working to characterize risk for Alzheimer’s disease in retired night-shift workers by studying cognitive function, brain volume, and brain bioenergetics. He is currently working with Dr. Hall and Dr. Meryl Butters (Professor, Department of Psychiatry).

João Paulo Lima Santos, MD (Research Instructor of Psychiatry) 
Dr. Lima Santos received his MD at the Universidade de Fortaleza (UNIFOR) and completed his residency in Psychiatry at the Universidade Federal do Ceará (UFC) in Brazil. Upon completion of his residency, Dr. Lima Santos joined the Pitt Department of Psychiatry, serving first as a research scholar, then a postdoctoral associate. 

Dr. Lima Santos is a recipient of a NARSAD Young Investigator award from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation and his research focuses on the relationship between sleep and white matter maturation, and the extent to which improvements in sleep can alter trajectories of psychopathology in adolescents and young adults. He is currently working in the lab of Amelia Versace, MD (Associate Professor of Psychiatry), to study emotion regulation circuitries in youth with mild traumatic brain injury. 

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Eckstrand, Dr. Lehrer, and Dr. Lima Santos!