PiPS draws its faculty from across Harvard Medical School’s teaching hospitals and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University. To date, over twenty faculty members are affiliated with the program.
Leadership | Senior Faculty | Research Directors | Research Team | Program Management | Strategic Advisors
Ted Kaptchuk is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a member of the research faculty at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Ted is deeply committed to multi-disciplinary research and has completed pioneering clinical research in asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, and chronic pain. He has conducted significant neurobiological studies of the placebo effect, produced historical analyses of the placebo effect and placebo controls, published ethical assessments of the use of placebos in clinical practice and research and designed the first studies of patients’ experiences while being treated by placebos. Ted is also a lecturer in Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Ted received a BA in East Asian Studies from Columbia University in 1968 and graduated with a degree in Chinese medicine from the Macao Institute of Chinese Medicine (China) in 1975. From 1999 to 2011, Ted was Associate Director of the Osher Research Center at Harvard Medical School. He was a member of NCCAM’s National Advisory Council from 1999 to 2010 and an expert panelist for the FDA from 2001 to 2005. [personal website]
Irving Kirsch, PhD, is a faculty member at Harvard Medical School and Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Hull, United Kingdom, and the University of Connecticut. Irving is noted for his research on placebo effects, antidepressants, expectancy and hypnosis. He is the originator of response expectancy theory and his analyses of clinical trials of antidepressants have influenced official treatment guidelines in the United Kingdom.
Irving received his PhD in psychology from the University of Southern California in 1975. In 1975, he joined the psychology department at the University of Connecticut, where he worked until 2004, when he became Professor of Psychology at the University of Plymouth. He moved to the University of Hull in 2007 and joined the faculty of the Harvard Medical School in 2011. [more]
John M. Kelley, PhD, is Associate Professor of Psychology at Endicott College, a faculty member at Harvard Medical School, and a licensed clinical psychologist in the Psychiatry Service at Massachusetts General Hospital. He also maintains a private practice in general psychotherapy. John earned a bachelor’s degree with high honors from Harvard University, and MS and PhD degrees in Clinical Psychology from the University of Oregon. In addition to his expertise in psychotherapy, John has a significant background in statistics, research design, and psychometric measurement and he has served as a co-investigator or consultant on eight National Institutes of Health (NIH) research grants. His current research interests include: (1) investigating the placebo effect in medical and psychiatric disorders; and (2) understanding how the doctor-patient relationship improves clinical outcomes in medicine and psychiatry. [more]
Arthur Barsky, MD, is a Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the Vice Chair for Psychiatric Research in the Department of Psychiatry at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. His major interests are hypochondriasis and somatization, the placebo and nocebo (adverse placebo) effects, and the cognitive and behavioral treatment of somatic symptoms. He has been the principal investigator of nine NIMH and NIH research grants in these areas and has authored 150 articles, 23 book chapters, and the popular books Worried Sick: Our Troubled Quest for Wellness, and Stop Being Your Symptoms and Start Being Yourself. His work on nocebo phenomena have defined the field.
Maurizio Fava, MD, is the Slater Family Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Executive Vice Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH); and Executive Director of the Clinical Trials Network and Institute. He obtained his medical degree from the University of Padova School of Medicine and completed residency training in endocrinology at the same university and then moved to the United States, where he completed residency training in psychiatry at the Massachusetts General Hospital. He has a long-term interest in placebo effects and is known for his innovative Sequential Parallel Comparison Design that seeks to develop efficient methods for detecting drug-placebo differences in clinical trials.
Elliot Israel, MD, is Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Director of Clinical Research for the Pulmonary Division at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr. Israel received his medical degree and completed his internship at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, his residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital and New York Hospital/Cornell Medical College, and his clinical and research fellowships at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, and Allergy and Immunology. Dr. Israel’s major research interests include mediators of airway reactivity, the role of arachidonic acid metabolites in airway narrowing, and genetic influences in asthma pharmacotherapeutics, particularly as they relate to responses to beta-agonists. He is actively involved in placebo research.
Bruce Rosen, MD, PhD, is Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School and Professor of Health Sciences and Technology at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. He is Director of the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at the Massachusetts General Hospital), a member of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and a Fellow of the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, which has awarded him its Gold Medal. He received his MD from Drexel University’s Hahnemann Medical College in Philadelphia and his PhD in Medical Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He actively participates in investigating the neurobiology of placebo effects.
Anthony J. Lembo, MD, Director of Clinical Research
Anthony J. Lembo, MD, is Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He also serves as the Director of the GI Motility Laboratory at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC)’s Division of Gastroenterology in Boston, MA.
Tony earned his undergraduate degree in Mathematics at Amherst College and his MD from Tufts Medical School. He subsequently completed his Internal Medicine Internship/Residency as well as Gastroenterology Fellowship at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA. Following his fellowship he joined the faculty at UCLA Medical Center where he was Co-Director of the Functional Bowel Disorders and GI Motility Center. In 1997 he joined the faculty at BIDMC. He is actively researching the role of placebo in functional bowel disorders such as IBS and chronic constipation.
Randy L. Gollub, MD, PhD, Director of Neuroimaging Research
Randy L. Gollub, MD, PhD, is Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and Clinical Associate at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) where she serves as the Associate Director of the Neuroimaging Research Program. She applies functional neuroimaging methods to investigate pain perception and the modulation of pain perception by placebo. The broader focus of Randy’s research is the interface between the technological advancement of neuroimaging acquisition and analysis methods and their application to basic and clinical neuroscience. Specifically she seeks to calibrate and validate quantitative imaging biomarkers for pain and other neuropsychiatric disorders.
Randy received her BA in Neuroscience from Northwestern and an MD and PhD in Pharmacology from Duke University Medical School. She completed her Psychiatry residency and a fellowship in single unit electrophysiology at Yale. Randy has been on faculty at Harvard Medical School since 1993.
Roger Davis, ScD, Director of Statistics
Roger Davis is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Associate Professor in the Department of Biostatistics at Harvard School of Public Health. As a statistician for health services researchers and clinical epidemiologists in general medicine and complementary and alternative medicine, he has contributed to dozens of grant-funded investigations as a co-investigator and biostatistician. Roger earned his ScD from the Harvard School of Public Health in 1988.
Efi Kokkotou, MD, PhD, DSc is Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and an Investigator at the Division of Gastroenterology, BIDMC. Her interest in placebo research is on elucidating at the molecular level the mechanisms involved in the placebo responses associated with gastrointestinal diseases and in particular irritable bowel syndrome. Her experimental approaches include animal studies as well as translational research. She is part of a well integrated group of scientists from diverse disciplines aiming to identify a “biological signature” for individuals prone to the placebo effect, to be used in improving the design of clinical trials and in delivering personalized medicine.
Felipe Fregni MD, PhD, MPH, MMSc is an Associate Professor of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Neurology at Harvard Medical School. He is the Director of the Neuromodulation Laboratory at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and is affiliated with the Department of Neurology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Felipe earned his MD and PhD at University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and has earned three masters degrees from Harvard University; in Medical Sciences (MMSc), Clinical Effectiveness (MPH) and in Technology Innovation and Education (MEd). His laboratory focuses on research in cortical plasticity associated with motor learning, stroke recovery and chronic pain. He also investigates the effects of placebo on cortical plasticity.
Chantal Berna MD, PhD
Chantal Berna, MD, PhD, is board certified in Internal Medicine (Geneva, Switzerland) and completed a PhD in pain neuroscience at Oxford University, UK, studying psychological aspects of pain and pain modulation. Through this work, Chantal created a novel collaboration between psychiatrists, psychologists and neuroscientists, which she maintained during a year of post-doctoral research in Irene Tracey’s laboratory at Oxford. Chantal is currently a fellow in the Center for Pain Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and is studying the effects of specific aspects of the therapeutic encounter on placebo analgesia.
Lisa Conboy, ScD, MA, MS
Lisa Conboy, ScD, MA, MS, is a social epidemiologist and sociologist with an interest in the associations between social factors and health. Her main interests in placebo studies are: (1) how belief, attitudes and sense of risk are associated with healing and (2) complex and mixed method study designs and their application to health research. An Instructor at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Lisa is also the research director at the New England School of Acupuncture where she teaches research methodology. Lisa is a founding member of the Kripalu research collaborative and has been actively involved in many placebo studies.
Kathryn Hall, PhD
Kathryn Hall, PhD, is a research fellow in the Gastroenterology Division at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Kathryn’s training and experience in molecular immunology, high throughput genomic technologies, documentary filmmaking, community activism and complementary and alternative medicine, coupled with her commitment to creating healthy transformation within minority communities led her to PiPS. It is her goal to understand how the psychosocial issues involved in the placebo effect translate into biological changes in the body and ultimately positive health outcomes. Kathryn’s research focus is the identification of genetic markers of a placebo responder. Before her return to academic research, Kathryn was Associate Director of Pharmaceutical Manufacturing at Millennium Pharmaceuticals.
Eric Jacobson, PhD, a medical anthropologist, is a lecturer in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a research associate at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. He wrote his dissertation on the treatment of depression and anxiety in classical Tibetan medicine based on fieldwork in northern India. He has led the first studies investigated the experience of patients receiving placebo treatment.
Karin B. Jensen, PhD
Karin Jensen, PhD, is a research fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Harvard Medical School. Her research is focused on the brain mechanisms of pain, placebo and the patient-provider relationship. In her experiments, Karin uses functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to investigate how pain can be modulated by means of cortical control systems.
Karin received her PhD in clinical neuroscience from the Karolinska Institute in 2009 (Stockholm, Sweden). Since then she has performed postdoctoral research at Harvard/MGH in collaboration with mentors and colleagues at Harvard/BIDMC and the Karolinska Institute.
Jian Kong, MD, MSc, MPH
Jian Kong, MD, MSc, MPH, is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Kong’s primary interest focuses on the brain mechanisms of pain and pain modulation. He is particularly interested in using combined brain imaging tools to investigate how noxious information is processed in the brain and can be influenced by the mind (placebo and nocebo) and treatment (acupuncture). Kong received his MD equivalent from the Shangdong University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (China) in 1993 and did his postdoctoral training in physiology and neuroscience at the China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine. He has been affiliated with Massachusetts General Hospital since 2000 and received an MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health in 2009.
Joe Kossowsky, PhD
Joe Kossowsky, PhD, is a research fellow at Boston Children’s Hospital (CHB) and Harvard Medical School. His current research is focused on post-operative pain, placebo by proxy, and patient-provider relationship. Joe received his PhD in clinical psychology and neuroscience from the University of Basel in 2012 (Basel, Switzerland). In his thesis, he investigated psychobiological mechanisms of childhood anxiety and their link to adult anxiety disorders. Joe completed his psychotherapy training and worked as a psychotherapist with children and adolescents at the psychotherapeutic outpatient clinic at the University of Basel.
Áine Lorié, PhD
Áine Lorié completed her PhD in Sociology at the National University of Ireland, Galway in June 2009. Prior to this, she conducted research in applied sociology for both academia and the private sector, including many projects in the medical arena. Áine assists as a research collaborator in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital where she has been providing qualitative research support as well as a complementary sociological perspective for several projects. Áine is interested in placing the placebo effect within its wider socio-cultural context in order to better understand the importance of healing from a sociological perspective.
Vitaly Napadow, PhD, Lic. Ac.
Vitaly Napadow, PhD, Lic. Ac., is an assistant professor at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Vitaly holds secondary appointments as an assistant professor in the Pain Management Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and is adjunct faculty at Logan College of Chiropractic. He received his Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and graduated from the New England School of Acupuncture (NESA) with a degree in Acupuncture. Vitaly’s research expertise is in MRI neuroimaging and his interests focus on evaluating brain processing underlying different aversive perceptual states such as chronic pain, itch, and nausea.
Scott Podolsky, MD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Social Medicine and a primary care physician at Massachusetts General Hospital. Since 2006, he has served as the Director of the Center for the History of Medicine based at the Countway Medical Library. His research, described in numerous books and articles, concerns the evolving authority of the controlled clinical trial, and relationships among physicians, the pharmaceutical industry and governmental agencies.
Ajay Wasan, MD, MSc, is an Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology and Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the Director of the Section of Clinical Pain Research at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He is board certified in Pain Medicine and completed fellowship training in interventional pain medicine in the Anesthesiology Department at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He is also board certified in psychiatry and completed a residency in psychiatry at Johns Hopkins. In his clinical work, he sees patients at the Brigham and Women’s Pain Management Center, a multidisciplinary pain treatment center. He has particular expertise in the psychiatric co-morbidities of chronic pain and in the use of opioids, placebo responses, neuropathic pain medications, psychotropic medications, and interventional procedures.
Michael Wechsler, MD, MMSc
Michael Wechsler, MD, MMSc, is a pulmonologist in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He is Associate Director of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Asthma Research Center and is on the Steering Committee of the NHLBI’s Asthma Clinical Research Network (Asthmanet). Michael’s clinical and research interests include the Churg-Strauss syndrome, eosinophilic disorders, the genetics and pharmacogenetics of asthma and the role of placebos in asthma management. Michael graduated from McGill University Faculty of Medicine in 1993, completed residencies in internal medicine at the Beth Israel Hospital (1996) and the Harvard-wide fellowship in Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine in 2000.
Deborah Grose has thirty years of project and program management experience in the business, not-for-profit, and government sectors. She has managed youth employment and elder service programs and has worked as an information systems consultant. Deborah’s fundraising experience includes directing a capital campaign, grant writing and event planning. She has a BA in philosophy and music from Williams College and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Hartford.
Sandra Garrelick, MBA
Sandra Garrelick, MBA, is a retired senior marketing and planning executive with extensive experience in complex organizations in the not-for-profit service sector. Her areas of expertise include strategic and business planning, product development; market share growth, branding, communications and crisis management, customer and community relations and community based multicultural initiatives. She has worked with numerous organizations in greater Boston including Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, Blue Cross Blue Shield and the Massachusetts Hospital Association. Sandra received a BA in math and economics from Simmons College and an MBA from Boston University.
Katherine Majzoub, MPP
Katherine Majzoub was PiPS Program Manager from May 2011-July 2012. Her interest in placebo studies is inspired by its relationship to the biopsychosocial causes of disease, questions of evidence, medical pluralism, and humanism in medicine. Katherine received a BA in biology from Williams College in 2006 and a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School in 2011. She is currently a student at Harvard Medical School.