V22 MIRECC Fellowship
MIRECC Advanced Fellowships in Mental Illness Research and Treatment
VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System and VA San Diego Healthcare System
The MIRECC Advanced Fellowship programs at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System (VAGLAHS) and VA San Diego Healthcare System (VASDHS) are recruiting psychologists (or other associated health fellows) for a two-year fellowship program. The primary goal of these programs is to train physicians and psychologists to become leading clinical researchers in psychotic disorders. The fellowships combine individual mentored research and clinical training (75% clinical research; 25% advanced training in clinical care) with state-of-the-art educational experiences. A special emphasis of the fellowship programs is to train fellows to conduct translational research that brings basic science to clinical practice.
The VISN 22 MIRECC research programs are internationally recognized in a broad range of research into psychotic disorders including cognitive and affective neuroscience, electrophysiology, neuropsychology, social cognition, social isolation/loneliness, homelessness, psychosocial interventions, cognitive and psychiatric rehabilitation, mobile technology, late-life psychosis, and clinical psychopharmacology.
VISN 22 MIRECC mission statement:
The mission of the Desert Pacific MIRECC is to improve the long-term functional outcome of patients with chronic psychotic mental disorders, including schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder and psychotic mood disorders. Psychotic illnesses are associated with a variety of perceptual and cognitive impairments that can affect vocational and social functioning, and quality of life. Unfortunately, available treatments are often only partially effective at addressing the many needs of afflicted individuals. Our approach to schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders is to improve understanding of the underlying neurobiology of these illnesses, to translate this improved understanding to improved clinical practices, and to assure that these improved practices are made available to Veterans. We approach this mission through an integrated program of research, education, and clinical programs aimed at translating findings from the research laboratory into improved clinical care. Moreover, our program spans the spectrum from basic brain biology to the organization of services for veterans.
Interaction between the two fellowship programs:
Although each site has a separate fellowship program and application process, we are unified as a single VISN 22 MIRECC, and the faculty from both sites work together to establish and maintain progress toward the MIRECC Mission, including advancement of the trainees at both sites. Trainees at each site have multiple training and mentoring experiences with the faculty from each site, affording a uniquely rich opportunity and breadth of expertise across the two locations. The combined research programs are internationally recognized in a broad range of research areas including cognitive neuroscience, neuroimaging electrophysiology, neuropsychology, animal models, geriatric psychiatry, psychosocial interventions, cognitive remediation, clinical psychopharmacology, health services, and implementation science. We have a strong commitment to translational research linking basic science to clinical research and clinical research to services research.
Availability of pilot grants (Pala pilot award program):
Consistent with our MIRECC Centers’ mission, a primary training objective is to provide support and incentives for postdoctoral fellows from various disciplines, including psychiatric rehabilitation, clinical neuroscience, behavioral health, and others to apply their talents to the complex issues affecting Veterans with psychotic disorders. The research efforts of our fellows are supported through our Pala Pilot Award program in which postdoctoral fellows can apply for small grants to collect pilot data for a larger research project and follow-up grant application. We allocate funds of up to $10,000 total per award at each site.
Faculty at VAGLAHS and areas of research interest:
- Michael F. Green, Ph.D.: Dr. Green directs a clinical research laboratory (https://greenlab.dgsom.ucla.edu) that explores the relationship between cognitive and social cognitive impairments in schizophrenia and community integration, as well as the neural underpinnings of cognitive and social cognitive dysfunction. Ongoing studies are evaluating social cognitive retraining and novel pharmacological interventions for cognitive and social cognitive impairments. A separate program of research within the VA is to understand and improve community integration for homeless Veterans (https://www.vathrive.org).
- Shirley Glynn, Ph.D.: Dr. Glynn’s research focuses on psychosocial interventions, most especially family interventions, supported employment and social skills training, to support recovery from schizophrenia and other psychotic illnesses.
- Jonathan K. Wynn, Ph.D.: Dr. Wynn’s research interests focus on neurocognitive and social cognitive dysfunction in people with serious mental illness, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and homeless Veterans. More recently, Dr. Wynn’s interests have extended to examining the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health and community integration in recently homeless Veterans and Veterans with psychosis, along with examining longitudinally the effects of COVID-19 infection on mental health, cognition, and community integration in recently homeless Veterans. He utilizes electrophysiology (EEG, ERP), neuroimaging (fMRI), and mobile technologies in his work. Please see Dr. Wynn’s ORCID page for further information: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1763-8540.
- Amy M. Jimenez, Ph.D.: Dr. Jimenez’s primary research focus utilizes neuroimaging methods to understand how brain dysfunction contributes to poor functional outcomes observed in serious mental illness. She is particularly interested in the neural underpinnings of social and non-social cognitive deficits in schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other neuropsychiatric disorders. She has also examined neural mechanisms underlying aging and memory, Alzheimer’s Disease risk and progression, and chronic pain. Dr. Jimenez is also actively engaged in research on the utility of remote psychosocial interventions to increase community reintegration among Veterans with serious mental illness transitioning from residential treatment to permanent supported housing.
- Sonya E. Gabrielian, M.D.: Dr. Gabrielian’s research focuses on implementation approaches to improve housing, health, and community functioning for homeless-experienced adults with serious mental illness, and other vulnerable populations. She has additional interests in evaluating services and programs that address social determinants of health among individuals who are homeless-experienced, as well as improving physical health care for persons with social vulnerabilities.
- Stephen R. Marder, M.D.: Dr. Marder's research has focused on pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches to improving the outcomes of serious mental illnesses, particularly schizophrenia. His clinical intervention research began with studies that evaluated strategies for reducing adverse side effects of antipsychotic medications, and studies that evaluated the interactions of psychosocial interventions and pharmacological approaches to improving outcomes. Dr. Marder’s work has also addressed key issues in the development of medications for improving cognition in schizophrenia.
Faculty at VASDHS and areas of research interest:
- David Braff, M.D.: Braff’s research centers around 1) the identification of neurocognitive and neurophysiological biomarker deficits in psychiatric disorders (with an emphasis on schizophrenia); 2) understanding the neural circuit/substrate dysfunctions of schizophrenia patients using human and cross-species translational animal model studies; 3) using neurocognitive, imaging, information processing, and attentional dysregulation as endophenotypes in family/genetic studies; 4) utilizing translational and genetic research tools to identify the neural circuit basis and the genetic architecture of neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia; and 5) utilizing genetically and behaviorally determined, strong inference-based targets for developing efficacious antipsychotic medications and psychosocial therapies that can improve functional outcomes and quality of life. See also: https://profiles.ucsd.edu/david.braff
- Lisa T. Eyler, Ph.D.: Dr. Eyler's research focuses on understanding individual differences in cognitive and emotional functioning using neurobiological measures including structural and functional brain imaging and inflammatory biomarkers. She directs the Mental Health in Aging Unit within our MIRECC. The Unit examines how functioning in psychosis may change with age and which modifiable factors may determine the rate of aging of the body and mind. She employs state-of-the-art methods such as blood-based biomarker assays, ecological momentary assessment with smart watches and mobile surveys and cognitive testing, and machine-learning-derived MRI measures of brain age. Dr. Eyler also is active several global consortia related to neuroscience and bipolar disorder. See also: https://profiles.ucsd.edu/lisa.eyler
- Ellen E. Lee, M.D.: Dr. Lee’s research focuses on biological and psychosocial aging in persons with schizophrenia and healthy aging populations, specifically the relationships between aging biomarkers, sleep disturbances, cognition, and metabolic health. Dr. Lee also has active research on loneliness and social disconnection in adults across the life-span. See also: https://profiles.ucsd.edu/ellen.lee
- Gregory Light, Ph.D.: Light's research is focused on the use of neurophysiological biomarkers to develop precision medicine trials for psychosis patients that are: 1) effectively delivered in “real-world” community centers; and 2) informed by objective, reliable, validated, and low-cost biomarkers for identifying patients most likely to benefit (or not) from treatments. See also: https://profiles.ucsd.edu/gregory.light
- Barton W. Palmer, Ph.D.: Palmer’s research is focused on the cognitive and biological/health effects of loneliness and social isolation in the context of aging with schizophrenia. He also has a long-standing interest in issues of successful aging and positive mental health among persons with psychotic disorders, as well as in the effects of neurocognitive functions on independent functioning in serious mental illness. See also: https://profiles.ucsd.edu/barton.palmer
- Susan Powell, PhD: Powell’s research examines early risk factors contribute to neurodevelopmental disorders such as schizophrenia and autism. Specifically, her work focuses on the effects of environmental exposure in combination with genetic susceptibility on genome-wide DNA methylation and behavior in rodents. She conducts basic science/bench lab studies on the behavioral effects of hallucinogens in rodents with the hope that these models will inform us about psychosis in humans and lead to novel therapeutics for people living with schizophrenia. See also: https://profiles.ucsd.edu/susan.powell
- Neal R: Swerdlow, M.D., Ph.D.: Swerdlow studies information processing abnormalities in schizophrenia and related disorders, both to identify neural mechanisms underlying the pathophysiology of schizophrenia, and to develop novel strategies for therapeutics. He has applied cross-species models relevant to schizophrenia to generate neural circuit models for aberrant information processing, used parallel measures in humans as endophenotypes to identify schizophrenia genes, and applied related measures as “biomarkers” predictive of pro-cognitive effects of medications and computerized cognitive training. See also: https://profiles.ucsd.edu/neal.swerdlow
- Jared Young, Ph.D.: Young investigates the molecular biology and neural circuitry underlying behavioral abnormalities occurring in major neuropsychiatric disorders. Dr. Young uses cutting-edge neuroscience to develop novel and sophisticated cross-species models to identify targetable mechanisms to treat mental illnesses. See also: https://profiles.ucsd.edu/jared.young
Eligibility Requirements for both fellowship programs:
Eligible psychologists (or associated clinicians) must be U.S. citizens. Applicants must have received a doctorate from an APA or CPA accredited graduate program in Clinical, Counseling, or Combined Psychology or PCSAS accredited Clinical Science program. Persons with a doctorate in another area of psychology who meet the APA or CPA criteria for respecialization training in Clinical, Counseling, or Combined Psychology are also eligible. Applicants must have also completed an APA or CPA accredited psychology internship.
How to Apply to VAGLAHS fellowship program:
Interested psychologists (or associated clinicians) who meet the eligibility requirements should send a cover letter and curriculum vita to Amy M. Jimenez, Ph.D. (e-mail: email@example.com). Interested physicians who meet the eligibility requirements should send a cover letter and curriculum vita to Stephen R. Marder, M.D (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). The cover letter should specify the reasons for your interest in this particular fellowship training program, a brief overview of your previous clinical and research experiences, and how you see this program promoting your professional and career goals. Please contact above regarding application deadlines.
How to Apply to VASDHS fellowship program:
Physicians who meet the eligibility requirements should send a cover letter and curriculum vita to Greg Light, Ph.D. (email@example.com).
The Psychology track of the MIRECC Fellowship at VASDHS is APA-accredited under an umbrella program at the VASDH, Clinical Mental Health Research Postdoctoral Residency Program (CMHR). Please contact the MIRECC track Director, Barton W. Palmer, PhD (firstname.lastname@example.org) regarding deadlines and application procedures and instructions.
Both MIRECC fellowships are equal opportunity training programs. We strive to create an inclusive and diverse training environment and consider marginalized group status to be a beneficial factor in achieving this goal. Thus, we give weight to marginalized group status (based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender diversity) in our selection rankings.