Center for Addiction Medicine

Maurizio Fava, MD

Maurizio Fava Headshot

Associate Dean for Clinical & Translational Research; Director, Division of Clinical Research of the MGH Research Institute, Executive Vice Chair for Research, MGH Department of Psychiatry, Executive Director, Clinical Trials Network & Institute (CTNI). Slater Family Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

Contact:     (617) 724-2513


Dr. Fava is a highly productive and innovative clinical and translational researcher and a beloved mentor with a strong record of fostering career development and training at the individual and now the institutional level at the MGH and HMS. Dr. Fava serves as co-PI, with Executive Committee member Dr. Greenfield, of the MGH-McLean R25 Training Program, ‘Fostering Research Mentorship and Training During Psychiatry’, a critically important mechanism by which promising psychiatry residents conduct mentored research during their residency. With an H-Index>100 and over 50,000 citations, Dr. Fava remains extremely productive, and his trainees have gone on to productive independent academic research careers. Dr. Fava has served with Dr. Evins as joint PI on two NIDA R01 projects and with Drs. Evins and Rigotti on NIDA U01 ‘Cooperative Drug Discovery Group for Nicotine Dependence’.


Current Projects

Neurobiological underpinnings of placebo response in depression

NIMH R01 MH102279 2015 – 20

We hypothesize that mesolimbic dopaminergic pathways implicated in reward anticipation, reinforcement learning, and expectation play a critical role in mediating placebo responses in MDD. In this research we will use integrated PET/fMRI imaging techniques, to compare simultaneously [11C]raclopride displacement (an indirect measure of endogenous dopamine release) and BOLD signals within the mesolimbic pathways in patients with MDD who are responders versus non-responders to placebo. The proposed research is profoundly innovative with respect to trial design, technology, and its multi-level integration, probing psychological an neurobiological constructs assumed to be crucially implicated in placebo response. A better understanding of the neurobiological basis of placebo effect has enormous potential for harnessing the healing capacity of placebo, developing new generations of clinical trials yielding better differentiation between novel antidepressants and placebo, and ultimately leading to new treatments for MDD.


Omega-3 fatty acids for MDD with high inflammation: A personalized approach



09/15/2015 – 07/31/2020

Work from our previous R-01 identified a homogeneous set of subjects with MDD who were particularly responsive to the n-3 PUFA eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA): subjects with MDD who had multiple biomarkers indicating high inflammation. The overall aim of this application is to extend our previous findings by performing a dose response proof of concept trial to identify a biomarker of response: We propose an 80-subject, two-site, 12-week double-blind randomized trial investigating the efficacy of 1, 2, or 4 g/day of EPA-enriched PUFA monotherapy vs. placebo in subjects with MDD, obesity, and baseline levels of hs-CRP >3mg/l.


Fostering research mentorship and training during psychiatry residency

NIH-NIMH R25MH094612

04/13/2017 – 03/31/2022

The major goal of this program is to provide support and infrastructure to establish a well-integrated research education program—the MGH/McLean Psychiatry Research Concentration Program—in the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) / McLean Hospital Adult Psychiatry Residency Program, which aims to attract and train residents to become future psychiatrist-scientists in basic, translational, and patient-oriented research, while increasing research literacy among all psychiatry residents.

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