Psychiatry Residency Program

Research Residency Track

Director's Welcome
General Information
Examples of Past UCSD Research Track Residents

Typical Research Track Curriculum

Links to UCSD Psychiatry Fellowships

Director's Welcome
Welcome to the UCSD Psychiatry Research Residency Track! Our program aspires to educate future Academic Psychiatrists, and to help nurture their early academic careers by building important skills in research, clinical care, teaching and mental health advocacy. We have the unique advantages of being a small and individualized program (2-3 trainees per year), supported by the remarkable clinical and scientific resources within UCSD and its affiliated Neuroscience community. The UCSD Department of Psychiatry is home to a world-class faculty – many of whom trained within our Department – that is dedicated to the success of our trainees. Our graduating Research Track trainees often move from our Psychiatry Residency to positions within one of our 12-15 specialized Fellowship training programs. A general description of our program follows below, and the broader reaches of our Department can be appreciated by exploring our Departmental website.

The challenges that we face in bringing hope and better life quality to individuals and families with mental illnesses will only be met by educating the future generations of Psychiatric physician-scientists. I am deeply committed to this process. So please read-on, and contact me if I can answer any specific questions!

Warmest regards,


Neal R. Swerdlow, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Psychiatry
Director, Research Residency Track
Vice Chair, Education & Training
UCSD Department of Psychiatry

General Information
Since 1987, the UCSD Department of Psychiatry has supported a designated Research Residency Track (RRT), with the goal of training future leaders in neuropsychiatric research and Academic Psychiatry. The RRT is Directed by Neal Swerdlow, M.D., Ph.D., and. Sidney Zisook, M.D.  serves as the RRT Associate Director.  The UCSD Psychiatry RRT is currently funded by an NIMH R25 Award, through June, 2018.

Each year, 1-2 applicants match into separate NRMP slots assigned to this program; M.D. and M.D., Ph.D. candidates are eligible for this program, with the most competitive applicants demonstrating both outstanding clinical skills and a longstanding commitment to research on the biology of mental illness.  The absolute expectation is that RRT trainees will develop into highly skilled Psychiatrists, world-class scientists, effective teachers and powerful advocates for patients and families with mental illness. In fact, our Program is dedicated to making sure that this happens!

Even before starting the RRT, trainees are assigned a mentor to help ease their transition into our Program and begin the process of professional development. The mentor is selected to be a senior investigator in the trainees area of interest.  During the PGY1, RRT trainees meet with their mentor and the RRT Director, and develop a personalized training plan designed to match the trainees’ research interests with the most productive training laboratories and mentors in our Department. Specific developmental benchmarks are clarified for their longitudinal progress through the RRT. Trainees and their identified mentors then develop and submit a research proposal for a 2-month PGY2 dedicated laboratory experience.

Typical PGY2 projects involve supervised laboratory and/or clinical experimentation as well as an independent scholarly literature review. Opportunities exist for mentored rotations within affiliated programs at the Salk Institute, Scripps Research Institute or Sanford-Burnham Institute, and in laboratories within the renowned UCSD Neurosciences Program; Residents pursuing such rotations are also assigned mentors within the core Department faculty to foster and reinforce the trainee’s strong connection with Psychiatry and mental illness research.  RRT trainees often identify specialized clinical rotations during their PG2 years that can synergize with their research interests.

After approval of a proposed PGY3 project, RRT trainees spend 40% effort (2 days per week) of their PG3 year in a mentored research experience. Additional expectations for this year include publication of a scholarly review (from the PGY2 rotation) or empirical experimental findings, and participation in a national or international scientific meeting.
The mentored research experience is expanded to 75% effort in the PG4 year, during which time RRT Residents also develop applications for Fellowship Training or individual career development awards. Typically, RRT trainees avail themselves of one of the many outstanding fellowship opportunities within the UCSD Department of Psychiatry, while other trainees progress directly into academic faculty series.

Candidates interested in the UCSD Psychiatry Research Track are encouraged to contact Dr. Swerdlow directly, early in their MS-IV year.

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Examples of past UCSD Research Track Residents

Research Resident Graduation Year Current Title
Max Schiff, M.D., Ph.D. 2015 Fellow, Vanderbilt University Dept. Psychiatry
Jonathan Howlett, M.D. 2014 Fellow, UCSD Department of Psychiatry
Abesh Bhattacharjee, M.D., Ph.D. 2014 Fellow, UCSD Department of Psychiatry
John Keltner, M.D., Ph.D. 2011 UCSD Asst. Professor of Psychiatry
Emily Gray, M.D. 2011 Fellow, Massachusetts General Hospital
Jeanne Maglione, M.D., Ph.D.  2010 Fellow, UCSD Department of Psychiatry
Jeff Sanders, M.D., Ph.D.  2010 Asst. Professor of Psychiatry, Emory University
Brian Tobe, M.D., Ph.D. 2010 UCSD Asst. Professor of Psychiatry
Michael McCarthy, M.D., Ph.D. 2009 UCSD Asst. Professor of Psychiatry
Laura Dunn, M.D. 2001 UCSF Assoc. Professor of Psychiatry
Martin Paulus, M.D. 1997 Scientific Director & President, Laureate Inst. for Brain Research
David Feifel, M.D., Ph.D. 1995 UCSD Professor of Psychiatry
Eric Turner, M.D., Ph.D. 1991 Professor of Psychiatry, U. Washington
Neal Swerdlow, M.D., Ph.D. 1991 UCSD Professor of Psychiatry

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 Typical Research Track Curriculum
Typical Research Track Curriculum

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Neal Swerdlow, M.D., Ph.D.

Neal Swerdlow, M.D., Ph.D.
Director
Research Residency Track


Summer Psychiatry Research Fellowship 

Department of Psychiatry