Philip R. Szeszko, PhD - MIRECC / CoE
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Philip R. Szeszko, PhD

Dr. Szeszko received his PhD in clinical psychology from St. John’s University and completed his postdoctoral training at the Zucker Hillside Hospital, focusing on brain-behavior relations in schizophrenia. He has served as Vice Chair of the Institutional Review Board and Associate Program Director of the General Clinical Research Center at the North Shore-LIJ General Clinical Research Center. Dr. Szeszko currently sits on the editorial boards of Schizophrenia Bulletin, Progress in Neuropsychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, and has received funding from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, DANA Foundation, and National Institute of Mental Health to conduct brain imaging studies in patients with psychiatric disorders. He currently works at the James J. Peters VA Medical Center as a member of the Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center and is an associate professor of psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Dr. Szeszko focuses on the use of magnetic resonance imaging to better understand the role of brain abnormalities in the neurobiology of psychiatric disorders and how these abnormalities are associated with neuropsychological functioning and predict treatment outcome. Prior work by his group has identified putative white matter abnormalities assessed using diffusion tensor imaging in patients experiencing a first-episode of psychosis that demonstrate unique functional correlates consistent with models of frontotemporal dysfunction. Given that some white matter abnormalities in psychosis may partly be related to antipsychotic treatment, his group has explored the potential therapeutic effects of omega-3s on the brain white matter to potentially mitigate these abnormalities. His recent work has focused on the use of techniques such as diffusion spectrum imaging and neurite orientation dispersion and density imaging to better understand the potential contribution of crossing white matter fibers in psychiatric disorders and their relationship to neuropsychological functioning and treatment outcome.


Research Interests

Psychosis, white matter, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, magnetic resonance imaging


Grants

Cognitive and Neural Mechanisms of the Accelerated Aging Phenotype in PTSD (2017-2022)

Role: Co-investigator. Funding source: NIMH.


Neuroimaging Biomarkers of Resilience and Treatment Response in PTSD (2017-2020)

Role: Co-investigator. Funding source:  Brain and Behavior Research Foundation.


Crossing White Matter Fibers as an Endophenotype in First-Episode Psychosis (2016-2017)

Role: Principal investigator. Funding source: NIMH.


Detecting Which Patients With Schizophrenia Will Improve With Omega 3 Treatment (2013-2015)

Role: Principal investigator. Funding source: NIMH.


MR Imaging Predictors of Response & Outcome in First Episode Schizophrenia (2012-2014)

Role: Principal investigator. Funding source: NIMH.


White Matter Endophenotypes in Bipolar Disorder (2011-2013)

Role: Principal investigator. Funding source: Brain and Behavior Research Foundation.


Genetics of White Matter Deficits in Schizophrenia (2010-2011)

Role: Principal investigator. Funding source: NIMH.


White Matter Endophenotypes in Bipolar Disorder (2010-2011)

Role: Principal investigator. Funding source: NIMH.


Neuroimaging Studies of Frontal Lobe Pathology In OCD (2009-2010)

Role: Principal investigator. Funding source: NIMH.


Mapping Cortical Thickness in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (2009-2010)

Role: Principal investigator. Funding source: NIMH.


Investigation of White Matter Integrity in Bipolar Disorder (2008-2009)

Role: Principal investigator. Funding source: NIMH.


Genetics of Brain Structure and Function (2008-2009)

Role: Principal investigator. Funding source: NIMH.


Diffusion Tensor Imaging In First-Episode Schizophrenia (2007-2012)

Role: Principal investigator. Funding source: NIMH.


Genetic Variation and White Matter Deficits in Schizophrenia (2006-2008)

Role: Principal investigator. Funding source: DANA Foundation.


Relationship between Suicidality and Impulsivity in Bipolar Disorder: A Diffusion Tensor Imaging Study (2006-2008)

Role: Principal investigator. Funding source:  American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.


Genetic Variation in BDNF and Anterior Hippocampal Morphology in First-Episode Schizophrenia (2003-2006)

Role: Principal investigator. Funding source: Brain and Behavior Research Foundation.


Neuroimaging Studies of Frontal Lobe Pathology In OCD (2001-2006)

Role: Principal investigator. Funding source: NIMH.


Internal Architectonic Analysis of the Hippocampus in First Episode Schizophrenia Using Ultra High Resolution MRI at 3 Tesla (1998-2000)

Role: Principal investigator. Funding source: Brain and Behavior Research Foundation.


An investigation of Orbital Frontal Cortex Volume from Structural MRI in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (1997)

Role: Principal investigator. Funding source: Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation.


Frontolimbic Pathophysiology in First-Episode Schizophrenia: An Investigation of the Frontal Lobes and Hippocampus/Amygdala Complex and their Relationship to Neuropsychological Test Performance (1995-1996)

Role: Principal investigator. Funding source: Scottish Rite Schizophrenia Research Foundation.


Publications (Selected)

A full list of Dr. Szeszko’s publications can be found here.

Shafritz KM, Ikuta T, Greene A, Robinson DG, Gallego J, Lencz T, DeRosse P, Kingsley PB, Szeszko PR. Frontal lobe functioning during a simple response conflict task in first-episode psychosis and its relationship to treatment response. Brain Imaging and Behavior, 2019.

Robinson DG, Gallego JA, John M, Hanna LA, Zhang JP, Birnbaum ML, Greenberg J, Naraine M, Peters BD, McNamara RK, Malhotra AK, Szeszko PR. A potential role for adjunctive omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids for depression and anxiety symptoms in recent onset psychosis: Results from a 16 week randomized placebo-controlled trial for participants concurrently treated with risperidone. Schizophrenia Research, 2019.

Gohel S, Gallego JA, Robinson DG, DeRosse P, Biswal B, Szeszko PR. Frequency specific resting state functional abnormalities in psychosis. Human Brain Mapping, 2018.

Szeszko PR, Tan ET, Uluğ AM, Kingsley PB, Gallego JA, Rhindress K, Malhotra AK, Robinson DG, Marinelli L. Investigation of superior longitudinal fasciculus fiber complexity in recent onset psychosis. Progress in Neuropsychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 2018.

Lyall AE, Pasternak O, Robinson DG, Newell D, Trampush JW, Gallego JA, Fava M, Malhotra AK, Karlsgodt KH, Kubicki M, Szeszko PR. Greater extracellular free-water in first-episode psychosis predicts better neurocognitive functioning. Molecular Psychiatry, 2018.

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