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In the Spotlight

Faculty in the Spotlight
Etienne Sibille, PhD
Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Clinical and Translational Science

What molecular changes in the brain occur in major depression? And what alterations can be seen as the brain ages? These are the two major research foci of Dr. Etienne Sibille, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, who has developed a highly innovative translational research program that bridges animal models with the human condition. Dr. Sibille’s research involves post-mortem human brain tissue and in-rodent studies to examine the cellular mechanisms of major depression, and the effects of brain aging in the development of neuropsychiatric disorders and late life function decline. By employing this multidisciplinary approach, the work undertaken in the Sibille Laboratory  has consistently generated new lines of research into disease mechanisms. These studies have recently extended to genetic studies in human epidemiological cohorts and may ultimately lead to better diagnostic and treatment methods. 

After earning a PhD in Pharmacology from Cornell University Medical College in 1999, Dr. Sibille completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at Columbia University in the laboratory of Dr. René Hen at the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior. He held academic appointments in both the Department of Neuroscience at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University’s Department of Psychiatry prior to being recruited by the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh in 2004 where he also joined the Translational Neuroscience Program. In 2008 he was granted an appointment with the University’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). He was subsequently promoted to Associate Professor of Psychiatry in 2009 and received tenure in 2011. 

Dr. Sibille is currently the Principal Investigator of several federally sponsored grants including a career development award to study molecular characterization of a corticolimbic network in depression, two R01 grants (one focusing on the corticolimbic somatostatin related inhibitory dysfunction in major depression and the other examining the molecular aging of the human brain), as well as an R21 grant to explore peripheral biomarkers in major depression.  He is also a Co-investigator for several other federally-funded projects.  He has widely disseminated his work, serving as a lead author or co-author for 60 published peer-reviewed journal articles, three book chapters and numerous published abstracts.  He has received several awards and honors in recognition of his outstanding work, including the NIMH Independent Scientist Award (2009). An exceptional citizen of the academic community, he was elected member of the American College of Neuropscychopharmacology (ACNP) in 2009, and serves as a reviewer for several National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) study sections and for numerous scientific journals including Molecular Psychiatry, the American Journal of Psychiatry, Biological Psychiatry, and Neuropsychopharmacology

In addition to his significant research activities, Dr. Sibille’s teaching and mentoring activities have received high praise from his students and peers. He co-directs the T32 training program “Training for Transformative Discovery in Psychiatry”, has served on the Center for Neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh’s (CNUP) Student Evaluation Committee, and was recently a co-organizer of the CNUP Graduate Program Pro-Seminar Series and annual retreat. He lectures on a variety of topics, including neuropharmacology, gene microarray use in genetic research, and the neurobiology of brain disorders. In recognition of these generous administrative, mentoring and teaching contributions, he was awarded the Department of Psychiatry Outstanding Mentorship Award in 2011.