About Gray Matters

Gray Matters at Columbia is a research fund within the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons that provides support for outstanding scientists dedicated to searching for the causes and cures of brain disorders. The luncheon is the major annual fundraising event for Columbia Psychiatry, supporting research and treatment through the Chairman’s initiatives for the department. Since its inception in 2007, the luncheon has raised funds to support chosen fellows who benefit from the extensive expertise of a peerless team of talented scientists that includes two Nobel laureates who serve as their teachers and mentors. Gray Matters is organized and run by a dedicated volunteer committee and is a beacon of hope to all who struggle with brain disorders.

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2019 - 2020 Gray Matters Fellows

  • Maura Boldrini, MD, PhD

    Research Scientist and Postdoctoral Residency Fellow (in Psychiatry)

    Maura Boldrini, MD, PhD, is a former Associate Professor in Clinical Neurobiology in Psychiatry and currently Research Scientist and Postdoctoral Residency Fellow in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University Irving Medical Center/New York State Psychiatric Institute. Dr. Boldrini graduated from medical school, completed her first psychiatry training, and received her PhD in Neurobiology of Affective Disorders from the University of Pisa, Italy. She completed her Translational Neuroscience Fellowship and is now concluding her second Residency in Psychiatry at Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Dr. Boldrini has been studying the neurobiology of mood disorders, suicide, and aging, assessing cellular and molecular changes in the human brain. She first studied the serotonergic system in the raphe nucleus, and more recently she has been focusing on adult neurogenesis and neuroplasticity in the human hippocampus. The goal of her research is to identify new druggable targets based on molecular, cellular, and brain circuit abnormalities detected in suicide decedents and subjects with neuropsychiatric illness, stress exposure, cognitive decline, and normal aging.

  • Maya Sabatello, LLB, PhD

    Assistant Professor of Clinical Bioethics (in Psychiatry), Co-Director, Precision Medicine: Ethics, Politics, and Culture Project

    Maya Sabatello, LLB, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Bioethics and the Co-Director of the Precision Medicine: Ethics, Politics, and Culture Project in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. Her research focuses on law, medicine, society, and disability and on the ethical, legal, and social implications of genetics. Recent projects explored the uses of psychiatric genetics evidence in civil litigation; the psychosocial impact of genomic data on adolescents and family relations; social and policy dilemmas in reproductive technologies; and disability inclusion in precision medicine research. Dr. Sabatello has extensive experience in policy-making and work with national and international organizations to promote human and disability rights. She serves as a member at various genomic and ethics-related committees at Columbia University and elsewhere, including the Ethics Committee of the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics, and the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of the National Precision Medicine Initiative—the All of Us Research Program.

  • Annika Sweetland, DrPH, MSW

    Assistant Professor of Clinical Sociomedical Sciences (in Psychiatry)

    Annika Sweetland, DrPH, MSW, is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Sociomedical Sciences in Psychiatry. She received her BA in psychology from Wesleyan University (1998), MSW from University of California at Berkeley (2002), and DrPH in sociomedical sciences from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health (2010).  Her post-doctoral training included a research fellowship in Sustainable Development at The Earth Institute at Columbia University and a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) sponsored fellowship in Global Mental Health in the Department of Psychiatry. She is a global expert on the intersection of tuberculosis (TB) and depression and Co-Chairs the TB and Mental Health Working Group at the International Union Against TB and Lung Disease. Her implementation science research focuses on how to increase access to mental healthcare in low-resource settings by training non-specialists to deliver evidence-based depression treatment in primary care. It is supported by a NIMH Career Development Award, the Columbia University President’s Global Innovation Fund, and the Rio de Janeiro State Research Foundation.

For more information on the Department of Psychiatry’s research, visit https://www.columbiapsychiatry.org/research