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Alexander Wilson Schweizer Fellowship


The Alexander Wilson Schweizer Fellowship funds a mood disorders teaching program at Johns Hopkins. The Fellowship is a permanently endowed fund, the income from which is used to educate families and the public on understanding depression and bipolar disorder; and to train psychiatrists and other professionals in mood disorders research and clinical care.

Following Alec Schweizer's death in spring of 1998, a fund was established in his memory to support the treatment of individuals suffering from depression and other mood-related disorders.

The Alexander Wilson Schweizer Fellowship supports the salary of the Schweizer Fellows as they continue their training in the clinical care of patients and families in dealing with depression and bipolar disorder. The Alexander Wilson Schweizer Fellowship also supports the Schweizer Fellows in their research endeavors to seek better diagnostic approaches and treatment options for patients.

Work of the Fellows

In addition to clinical and research work in the area of mood disorders, the Schweizer fellows are also funded to lecture in schools and other educational forums, and to write and publish materials to educate the public about mood disorders. To learn more about the fellows' work in the schools: Adolescent Depression Awareness Program (ADAP)

The Current Schweizer Fellow

Douglas D'Agati, M.D.
Dr. Douglas D’Agati received his undergraduate degree in English Literature from Yale University in 2005, his graduate degree in English Literature from Stanford University in 2007, and his medical degree from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 2013. He completed his residency training in psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, serving as chief resident during his final year in 2017. During residency, he published on neuromodulation, with particular interest in transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Currently, his main interests involve clinical care and medical education. As the Schweizer Fellow, he is working to promote and expand the Adolescent Depression Awareness Program (ADAP) under the mentorship of Dr. Karen Swartz. He also intends to explore the portrayal of suicide in young adult fiction, as fiction – in all forms – is among the most direct and influential sources of information for young people. His theoretical interest involves the connections between torpor in animals and depression and catatonia in humans. Living in a seasonal world requires certain adaptations, and many of these adaptations, he believes, have their legacy in psychiatric diseases. Lastly, the continues to see patients from around the country in the Mood Disorders Consultation Clinic.

Jennifer M. Coughlin, M.D. (2015, 2016)
Dr.Coughlin received her undergraduate degree in neuroscience in 2001 from Johns Hopkins University and her medical degree from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 2006. She completed residency training in Psychiatry at Hopkins in 2010 followed by a two year T32-sponsored clinical research fellowship in Molecular Psychiatry. She has been a member of the faculty 2012. Dr. Coughlin received the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD) Young Investigator Award in 2013. She is an attending physician on the Young Adult Mood Disorders Inpatient Service and directs the Young Adult Mood Disorders Consultation Clinic.Dr. Coughlin’s research aims to build on her undergraduate research training in molecular and genetic studies of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia  in the George Brown Molecular Genetics Lab. Her current research focuses on molecular neuroimaging techniques, with core competency in positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). Dr. Coughlin is currently heading up the clinical aspects of an interdepartmental initiative to study the immune response in the human brain.

Sean Heffernan, M.D. (2014)

Dr. Heffernan completed psychiatry residency training at Johns Hopkins in 2013, serving as Chief Resident in his final year. He spent the following year at Massachusetts General Hospital as the Ned H. Cassem, S.J., M.D. Fellow in Psychosomatic Medicine where he focused his clinical training on addressing psychiatric comorbidities of oncology patients. He has returned as the Schweizer Fellow with a goal of investigating the roles of inflammation and oxidative stress in the mood and thinking of oncology patients. Dr. Heffernan is also working with medical and surgical oncology providers to establish clinical collaboration and integration to deliver optimal mental health care for this patient population.

Anne Ruble, M.D., M.P.H. (2013)
In 2007, Dr. Ruble graduated from the combined M.D./M.P.H. program at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. She completed her residency training in psychiatry at Johns Hopkins. She served as the Chief Resident in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in 2010-2011. Dr. Ruble is currently working on adapting the Adolescent Depression Awareness Program (ADAP) into a mobile smartphone and tablet app for use with adolescents and their families. The goal of this project is to provide education to adolescents and their parents to improve treatment adherence and long-term prognosis for adolescents receiving psychiatric care. Dr. Ruble is also developing an educational program about mood disorders for primary care physicians. Dr. Ruble will be joining the Johns Hopkins faculty in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in July of 2013 as an Assistant Professor.

Mehdi Pirooznia, M.D. (2011, 2012)
Dr. Pirooznia became the Schweizer Fellow after receiving an M.D. degree from the Beheshti University of Medical Sciences in Iran, a M.S. in bioinformatics from Exeter University in the U.K., and a PhD in bioinformatics from the University of Southern Mississippi. During his first year as the Alexander Wilson Schweizer Fellow, Dr. Pirooznia developed a database with a web front application, called Metamoodics, to integrate the existing data from published genomic experiments of mood disorders. Data was composed of three classes of genomic experiments which were analyzed and the synthesized results visualized.? Metamoodics was designed to allow users to conduct customized analyses on this extensive data. The first release of the database included data from three major depression genome-wide association studies (GWAS), six bipolar disorder GWAS, over 500 candidate gene association studies, and sixteen genome-wide expression studies. Metamoodics acts as a virtual hub where the scientific community can explore the current state of knowledge about which genetic variations, genes, and pathways may contribute to susceptibility to mood disorders. Dr. Pirooznia and Peter Zandi, Ph.D. from the Bloomberg School of Public Health, JHU, initiated a study comparing different machine learning (ML) and data mining methods to mine and identify biomarkers from gene expression data on bipolar disorder and major depression. Different feature selection methods were explored to determine which approaches to classification best distinguished between the genetic profiles of people with bipolar disorder and controls. In July 2009, Dr. Pirooznia presented his work on Metamoodics and data mining at the XVII World Congress of psychiatric genetics in San Diego, California. Along with his colleagues, Dr. Pirooznia is in the process of preparing manuscripts for publication about this work. Dr. Pirooznia is now designing and implementing a multi-user computer cluster system for the Mood Disorders Center which communicates closely with the McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine at Johns Hopkins. He joined the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in 2012.

Crystal Watkins, M.D., Ph.D. (2009, 2010)
Dr. Watkins is part of an interdisciplinary training program in Psychiatry and Neuroscience focused on neuroimaging and mood disorders. By using neuroimaging techniques in small animal models as well as clinical studies, she hopes to better understand the neurotransmitter pathways involved in mood disorders, psychotic disorders and memory. Dr. Watkins was recently awarded a grant from the Johns Hopkins National Institutes of Mental Health Center for Novel Therapeutics to study older patients with bipolar disorder and received a competitive Travel Award Fellowship to attend the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology Meeting where she will share her work with the scientific community. In addition, to her research and work in the community, Dr. Watkins was selected as the “2009 Alumna of the Year” in Natural and Mathematical Sciences by the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Fernando S. Goes, M.D (2007,2008)
Dr. Goes, Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins Department of Psychiatry, began his current work on the genetics of bipolar disorder with Dr. James Potash as his supervisor, during his residency at Johns Hopkins. He focused his early career on delineating clinical subtypes that are biologically more alike to aid in the discovery of underlying susceptibility genes. During his fellowship, Dr. Goes also gained expertise in the treatment of mood disorders, particularly those that are resistant to treatment. He joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins in 2008 and is currently an attending physician on the mood disorders service and in the Mood Disorders Cnsultation Clinic. His research continues to focus on the psychotic subtypes of bipolar disorder and he has recently been awarded a Pathway to Independence Award from the National Institute of Mental Health to apply newly developed methods of DNA sequencing to the study of bipolar disorder. He is also the recipient of a Career Development Award from the National Institute of Mental Health in 2009. 

Elizabeth A. Kastelic, M.D. (2002, 2003)
Dr. Kastelic, Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins Department of Psychiatry founded the Young Adult and Adolescent Mood Disorders Inpatient Unit at Johns Hopkins in 2004. She continues to serve as its Director and is committed to finding better ways to diagnose and treat young people with mood disorders. In addition to running the inpatient specialty service, Dr. Kastelic directs the outpatient Young Adult and Adolescent Mood Disorders Consultation Clinic. She is also dedicated to developing a family-focused treatment (FFT) for adolescents with bipolar disorder and applying it , with some modifications, to outpatient adolescents focusing on psychoeducation, communication skills, and problem-solving delivered over a specific scheduled timeline. She also continues to work with Dr. Karen Swartz and the Adolescent Depression Awareness Program (ADAP) to educate high school students, teachers and parents about mood disorders.

Lisa Seyfried, MD (2002)
Dr. Seyfried is currently Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical School. Her academic and clinical interests include mood disorders and consultation-liaison psychiatry. She is also a member of their Health Services Research Group, as one of her areas of research interest is mood disorders associated with prostate cancer. Dr. Seyfried was recently awarded the Dlin/Fischer Clinical Research Award given by the Scientific Program Committee of the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine. This award is given to the author of the paper judged to be the most outstanding submission to the annual meeting. Her paper was entitled, "Predictors of Suicide in Older Patients with Dementia."

Todd S. Cox, MD, PLLC (2001)
Dr. Cox is an Assistant Professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and treats patients for a variety of psychiatric issues, including mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and schizophrenia. In addition, he works in Student Mental Health at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Dr. Cox is also on the faculty of Georgetown University School of Medicine, is the consulting psychiatrist for The Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC and maintains a private practice in Washington, DC. He has been designated a "Top Doctor" by Washingtonian magazine in 2008 and 2009 and one of "America's Top Psychiatrists" by the Consumer Research Council of America.

James Potash, M.D., M.P.H (1999,2000)
Dr. Potash, Associate Professor of the Johns Hopkins Department of Psychiatry is now the Director of Research for the Johns Hopkins Mood Disorders Center. Dr. Potash’s primary focus has been researching the genetic basis of mood disorders. Dr. Potash is the principal investigator on three major grants from the National Institute of Mental Health aimed at studying the genetics of bipolar disorder, the genetics of major depression, and the epigenetics of major depression, respectively. His two areas of research specialty have been the genetic basis of the psychotic form of bipolar disorder and the epigenetics of mood disorders. Dr. Potash also heads the clinical translation program for the Johns Hopkins Epigenetics Center in the Institute for Basic Biomedical Science where he studies epigenetic variation in the brains of people with major depression and bipolar disorder, and in the brain generally. In April of 2009, he was installed as the inaugural Arlene and Robert Kogod Professor in Mood Disorders at Johns Hopkins and recently gave a landmark talk at the World Congress Symposium in Psychiatric Genetics in San Diego, California. Dr. Potash's Faculty Profile page

Anthony J. Drobnick, M.D. (1999)
Dr. Drobnick has focused his career on working with teenagers with mood disorders. He served as the Director of the Adolescent and Young Adults Affective Disorders Clinic at Johns Hopkins for five years (2000-2004). He remains on the faculty at Johns Hopkins as an Adjunct Instructor in Psychiatry working with Resident's Training Program Fourth Year Seminar. Recently Dr. Drobnick moved to St. Michaels on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and has a full-time private practice and works one day a week in a community clinic seeing indigent patients. The majority of his practice focuses on treating teenagers and young adults with mood disorders, many of whom are severely ill. He is also dedicated to mental health education, presenting to community groups such as the Talbot County Mental Health Association on Adolescent Depression and Bipolar Disorder, while also serving on its Board of Directors for the past three years.

Support the Fellowship

If you would like to support the Alexander Wilson Schweizer Fellowship, you may contact Karen K. Hussey, Director of Development for the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Karen K. Hussey can be reached at (410)955-8159 or via email at You may also chose to use our secure online giving form. Or write to us at:

The Fund for Johns Hopkins Medicine
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

550 Broadway, Suite 914
Baltimore, MD 21205