Research Programs

Research in the Department of Psychiatry at NJMS specializes in applied and basic research into the development and treatment of behavioral health problems. The faculty consists of psychiatrists, psychologists, neuroscientists, and other health professionals. The overall mission of the research program is to understand the social and physical causes and treatment of behavioral health problems that are associated with disorders that arise in infancy, childhood, adolescence and adulthood. Research efforts of faculty, residents and post-doctoral fellows include human and animal studies focusing on major childhood and adult psychiatric disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, autism, pain disorders, violence and aggression, schizophrenia, and Tourette Syndrome. Department of Psychiatry, on behalf of faculty members, encourages graduate student, medical students, residents and fellows to get involved in these research projects. Faculty members would be happy to get anyone interested in joining them in their respective research projects. Results of research projects have been presented at regional, national and international conferenences and have been published in peer-reviewed journals.


Summary of Representative Research Project

(A) Projects related to Adult Psychiatry:

Dr. Steven Schleifer, M.D.: Dr. Schleifer is involved in various reserach projects at Graystone Park Psychiatry Hospital and at University Hospital. Dr. Schleifer would be happty to accomodate interested students in his projects. The role of the student would depend upon his/her interests, skill set (e.g., re’ statistics, possible patient interactions), time availability and the status of the various projects. In some cases, a student can develop his/her own mini-project as a sub-project of existing protocols (as several have done in the past). Interested students should feel free to get in touch with Dr. Schleifer ( to discuss possibilities. List of Dr. Schleifer's project can be found here.

Dr. Ye-Ming Sun, M.D.: Dr. Sun is interested in research project(s) with Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT). Dr. Sun would like to experiment his hypothesis that ECT overstimulates glutamate receptor in the brain and causes memory disturbance. In this study, Dr. Sun will test the cognitive function disturbance in ECT patients with and without pretreated with Memantine – an NMDA receptor antagonist. The study will divided into two stages: first stage – a limited open label study; second stage – double blind clinical trial (will apply for NIH or other resources funding) if positive results would be obtained from the first stage. Dr. Sun is looking for a trainee who has some background in neurosciences and will dedicate in scientific research (not necessary full time). The person will involve in proposal writing (IRB application), evaluation of patient with him, obtaining consents, carrying out cognitive function testing, data collection and analysis, and paper writing. If this project will extent to stage 2, the trainee would have the chance to write NIH grant. Interested students should feel free to get in touch with Dr. Sun ( )to discuss possibilities.

(B) Projects related to Child & Adolescent Psychiatry:

Dr. Tolga Taneli, M.D..: Child & Adolescent Psychiatry will be glad to accommodate students in existing research or work with them on feasible scholarly work of their own. Present clinical research includes retrospective reviews of consultations in the use of "New Media" (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and Conversion Disorder. Related to education, there is a Student Attitudes to Psychiatry survey that is awaiting the help of qualified medical students. Interested students should contact Dr. Taneli (