Our Team

Psychosis Research Program

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  2. Psychosis Research Program
  3. Our Team

Rajiv P. Sharma MD

  • Research Professor of Psychiatry, Anatomy and Cell Biology, and Neuroscience
  • Director of the Psychosis Program
Dr. Rajiv P. Sharma is a Research Professor of Psychiatry. Over the past 30 years, he has examined multiple aspects of the schizophrenia illness, including clinical presentations, biochemical studies (hormones, immune molecules, monoamine metabolites, neuropeptides), as well as molecular studies in living subjects, postmortem brain samples, and cell studies. His research is funded by NIH. He is currently focusing on the dissection of epigenetic gene regulation in schizophrenia, pertaining to immune function, cognition, treatment response.

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Ellen S. Herbener PhD

  • Assistant Professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology
Dr. Ellen Herbener received her Bachelor’s Degree in Behavioral Science from the University of Chicago, and her Doctoral Degree from Harvard University. She completed a psychology internship at Cambridge Hospital, and a postdoctoral fellowship at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. She is a licensed clinical psychologist.

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Michele Tufano MS

  • Bioinformatician and Data Analyst at Sharma Lab
Michele Tufano is a bioinformatician in Dr. Sharma Lab at the Department of Psychiatry. He analyzes genomic data in schizophrenia patients, focusing on long non-coding RNA (RNA-Seq) and epigenetics (Ch-IP Seq). In collaboration with Dr. Rosen, he uses network analysis for elucidating the intercorrelation of clinical variables in psychosis and other neuropsychological disorders. 

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Hannah Gin BS

Hannah Gin

Hooriyah Rizavi MSc, PhD

  • Research Specialist- Natural Sciences
  • T32 in the Neuroscience of Mental Health Graduate
Dr. Rizavi received a master’s in Molecular Biotechnology from Wayne State University and earned her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from UIC. She has been involved in the investigation of the neurobiology of depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and suicide. In that respect she has conducted several studies in the postmortem brain of teenage and adult suicide victims, blood cells from patients with mood disorders, and utilized cell cultures and animal models to test specific hypothesis. She has made important contributions to better understand the possible connection of the stress response, neuroinflammation, and neurotransmitter balance underlying psychopathology. With particular interest in epigenetics, her current research is to study the epigenome and identify specific epigenetic signatures by integrating data from DNA methylation, non-coding RNA, and post-translational modifications that can confer variations in signaling pathways leading to adaptive or mal-adaptive epigenetic changes associated with risk and resilience to mood disorders.

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