Christopher Pittenger, MD, PhD

Associate Professor of Psychiatry and in the Child Study Center and Assistant Professor of Psychology; Director, Yale OCD Research Clinic; Associate Director, Neuroscience Research Training Program

Departments & Organizations

Albert J. Solnit Integrated Training

Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program

NIMH Research Training Program in Childhood-onset Neuropsychiatric Disorders

Office of Student Research

Psychiatry: Clinical Neuroscience Research Unit | Connecticut Mental Health Center | Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Research Clinic | PittLab

Yale Combined Program in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS): Neuroscience

Biography

Christopher Pittenger earned his MD and Ph.D. degrees from Columbia University, where his graduate work was done with Nobel Prize recipient Eric Kandel. He returned to Yale University - where had done his undergraduate studies - for residency and research training in psychiatry in 2003. He joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor in 2007 and was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor in 2013.

During his Ph.D. studies in basic neurobiology, he became fascinated by the brain's ability to go on autopilot -- to perform complex series of actions or thoughts, after sufficient rehearsal, with almost no conscious effort. Then, during his clinical training, he became more and more aware of how this process, when disrupted by disease, can lead to the maladaptive and disruptive automaticity seen in many neuropsychiatric disorders. His research, both with patients and in animal models, aims to elucidate the mechanisms of learned automatic behaviors and to better understand the consequences when they go awry, with the ultimate goal of developing new understandings and better treatments for a variety of neuropsychiatric conditions.

Dr. Pittenger's research and clinical work have been acknowledged by a number of prestigious awards, including grant funding from the National Institutes of Health, NARSAD, the Tourette Syndrome of America, and the Doris Duke Charitable Trust, and awards from the National Institute of Mental Health, the Society for Neuroscience, the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American College of Psychiatrists. He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the International OCD Foundation and an active member of the Society for Neuroscience, the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, the Society of Biological Psychiatry, the American Neurological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and other groups.

Education & Training

MD Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons (2003)
PhD Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Neurobiology and Behavior (2002)
PhD Columbia University (2002)
MPhil Columbia University (1998)
MS Yale University (1994)
BS Yale University (1994)
Diplomate American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
McNeil Research Fellow Yale University
Resident in Adult Psychiatry Yale University

Honors & Recognition

  • William H. Bean Award for Medical History or HumanitiesAmerican Osler Society (2001)

  • NIMH Outstanding Resident AwardNational Institute of Mental Health (2005)

  • Memorial Travel Fellowship, ACNPAmerican College of Neuropsychopharmacology (2006)

  • The Laughlin FellowshipAmerican College of Psychiatrists (2007)

  • APA/Wyeth MD/Ph.D. Research FellowshipAmerican Psychiatric Association (2007)

  • NARSAD Young Investigator AwardNARSAD (2007)

  • Travel Award for the ASCP Workshop on Clinical TrialsAmerican Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology (2008)

  • DDCF Clinical Scientist Development AwardDoris Duke Charitable Foundation (2008)

  • Presenter at the NARSAD New York GalaNARSAD (2008)

  • Tourette Syndrome Association Young InvestigatorTourette Syndrome Association of the USA (2009)

  • NARSAD Young Investigator AwardNARSAD (2010)

  • SfN Career Development AwardSociety for Neuroscience (2009)

  • Biobehavioral Research Award for Innovative New ScientistsNational Institute of Mental Health (2010)

  • Graduated cum laude with distinction, with simultaneous awarding of BS and MS degreesYale University (1994)

  • Poole Prize for Medical WritingColumbia University (1994)

  • Dean's Day Award for Medical Student ResearchColumbia Univeristy (2000)

  • Dean's Day Award for Medical Student ResearchColumbia University (2002)

  • Ph.D. awarded with distinctionColumbia University (2002)

  • The Seymour L. Lustman Award for Psychiatric ResearchYale University (2006)

  • The Seymour L. Lustman Award for Psychiatric ResearchYale Univeristy (2007)

  • Laughlin Foundation Merit AwardYale University (2007)

  • YCCI ScholarYale Center for Clinical Investigation (2009)

  • Chairman's Award for Outstanding Clinical, Teaching, and Administrative ContributionsDepartment of Psychiatry, Yale University (2009)

  • YCCI Pilot Award in Translational and Interdisciplinary ResearchYale Center for Clinical Investigation (2011)

  • Allison FellowshipDepartment of Psychiatry, Yale Unversity (2012)

Professional Service

  • Member of Peer Review Committee Peer Review Committee, Connecticut Mental Health Center (2008 - 2014)

  • Executive Leadership Committee Connecticut Mental Health Center (2013 - 2014)

  • Member, Assistant Professor Advisory Committee (2) Department of Psychiatry, Yale University (2012 - 2014)

  • Member, Assistant Professor Advisory Committee Yale Child Study Center, Yale University (2012 - 2014)

  • Search Committee for Assistant Professor in Molecular Psychiatry Department of Psychiatry, Yale University (2012 - 2014)

  • Search Committee for Assistant Professor in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Yale Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine (2010)

  • Resident Committee for Chair Search Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine (2006 - 2007)

  • Research Website Committee Department of Psychiatry, Yale University (2010)

  • Member, Mechanisms and Treatment of Disease Goal Group Medical School Curriculum Revision Task Force, Yale University School of Medicine (2013 - 2013)

  • Mentor, START@Yale medical student mentorship program Yale University School of Medicine (2012)

  • Resident Selection Committee Department of Psychiatry, Yale University (2010 - 2015)

  • Member, Subcommittee on the Pre-Award Process Department of Psychiatry, Yale University (2011)

  • Reviewer, Travel Award Program American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (2012 - 2014)

  • Reviewer, Clinical Scientist Development Award Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (2013 - 2015)

  • Grant Review Committee International Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Foundation (2010 - 2014)

  • ad hoc reviewer - NIH Study Section ZMH1 ERB-S National Institutes of Health (2009)

  • Grant Reviewer Association Francaise Contre les Myopathies (2013)

  • Grant Reviewer Israel Science Foundation (2012)

  • Grant Reviewer North Carolina Biotechnology Center (2011)

  • Lustman Award Review Committee Yale University Department of Psychiatry (2009 - 2014)

  • Reviewer, Detre Fellowship Program Yale University Department of Psychiatry (2013 - 2014)

  • Grant Reviewer Czech Science Foundation (2013)

  • Honorific Awards Committee, 2012-2014 Society for Neuroscience (2006 - 2014)

  • member American Psychiatric Association (2006)

  • member International Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Foundation (2007 - 2014)

  • member Connecticut Psychiatric Association (2006 - 2014)

  • Member, Education and Training Committee, 2012-2015; Chair, Program Director Task Force, 2014 Society of Biological Psychiatry (2009 - 2014)

  • Scientific Advisory Board International Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Foundation (2010 - 2014)

  • Associate Member American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (2011 - 2012)

  • Member, Education and Training Committee American College of Neuropscyhopharmacology (2013 - 2014)

  • Fellow American Neurological Association (2014)

  • Anxiety and Depression Association of America (2014)

  • Member; Secretary Bethany CT Board of Education (2009)

  • Judge Southern Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair (2012 - 2014)

  • Advisor, Advanced Science Program Amity High School (2012 - 2014)

  • Presenter, Career Day Amity Middle School - Bethany (2013)

  • Chief Resident Neuroscience Research Training Program, Yale University (2006 - 2007)

  • Assistant Director for Education Neuroscience Research Training Program, Dept. of Psychiatry, Yale University (2000 - 2010)

  • Associate Director Neuroscience Research Training Program, Department of Psychiatry, Yale Univeristy (2010 - 2014)

  • Moderator, Peer Support Group Yale Center for Clinical Investigation (2012 - 2012)

  • Site Coordinator, Yale-Rockefeller Research Day 2011 Yale Center for Clinical Investigation (2010 - 2011)

  • Associate Editor Neuroscience Letters (2007)

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Contact Info

Christopher Pittenger, MD, PhD
Patient Care Location
Clinical Neuroscience Research UnitConnecticut Mental Health Center
34 Park Street, Ste 3rd floor

New Haven, CT 06519
Lab Location
Connecticut Mental Health Center
34 Park Street, Ste W306

New Haven, CT 06519
Office Location
Connecticut Mental Health Center
34 Park Street, Ste W315

New Haven, CT 06519
Mailing Address
Connecticut Mental Health Center34 Park Street
New Haven, CT 06508

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