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Promotion of David Volk, MD, PhD

David Volk, MD, PhD Promoted to Associate Professor of Psychiatry

Congratulations to David Volk, MD, PhD on his promotion to the rank of Associate Professor of Psychiatry by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.  

After receiving both his PhD in neuroscience (2002) and his medical degree (2004) from the University of Pittsburgh through its Medical Scientist Training Program, Dr. Volk completed residency training in psychiatry at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (WPIC) and served as chief resident of the research pathway from 2007 to 2008. In July of 2008, Dr. Volk was appointed to the faculty as an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and as an attending psychiatrist in WPIC’s emergency clinical services.  

Dr. Volk’s research utilizes a translational approach for studying the pathogenesis and pathology of schizophrenia. He develops and tests hypotheses involving neural circuitry abnormalities in postmortem human brain tissue, and tests their plausibility through cell-type specific genetic manipulations in animal models. These experiments are designed to identify novel treatment targets for schizophrenia. Integrating his high quality scientific training in neuroscience and his clinical training as a psychiatrist, Dr. Volk has developed a national reputation in this area. In 2009, he received a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) K08 mentored clinical scientist development award titled “Schizophrenia and Endocannabinoid Effects on Inhibitory Circuitry”.  This work led to the funding of his current NIMH R01 “Disrupted Ontogeny of Cortical GABA Neurons in Schizophrenia”, which examines disturbances in prefrontal cortical inhibitory neurons in schizophrenia.  Dr. Volk also serves as a co-investigator of the National Institute of Health (NIH) Brain and Tissue Repository Contract, and has also made important contributions as a co-investigator to the new NIMH Conte Translational Mental Health Research Center. His accomplishments have been recognized nationally, including his receipt of the NIMH Outstanding Resident Award in 2006, the American Psychiatric Association’s Research Colloquium for Junior Investigators Award in 2007, travel awards from both the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (2010) and the International Congress on Schizophrenia (2011), and the Hamilton Family Award for Basic Neuroscience Research in Psychiatry in 2012. He has also served as an ad hoc reviewer for NIH Study Sections and is a member of the editorial board of Neurobiology of Disease. His research has been published in top-tier journals including JAMA Psychiatry (Archives of General Psychiatry), the American Journal of Psychiatry, and Biological Psychiatry.  

A dedicated and talented teacher and mentor, Dr. Volk also participates in numerous educational activities, both research and clinical in nature. Since 2008, he has provided supervision to all levels of residents rotating through WPIC’s Psychiatric Emergency and Intake Services and was awarded the Exemplary Teaching Service Award in 2013. In 2012, Dr. Volk was named the co-director of the Department’s Psychiatry Research Pathway (PRP) with Dr. Boris Birmaher. This innovative training experience is for all levels of residents and provides highly specialized training and coaching for psychiatrists wishing to pursue research careers. He also provides supervision and mentorship to graduate and undergraduate trainees, and is a member of the faculty of the NIMH T32 training program “Training for Transformative Discovery ion Psychiatry”.  

Dr. Volk remains an active alumnus of the MSTP, and also provides clinical shadowing experiences for undergraduate trainees as part of the CTMHR Clinical Exposure Program.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Volk on his promotion.