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Christopher Pittenger, MD, PhD, FAPA, FANA

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Patient type treated
Child, Adult
Accepting new patients
Referral required
MD to MD Consult


Chris Pittenger earned his MD and Ph.D. degrees from Columbia University, where his graduate work was done with Nobel Prize recipient Eric Kandel. He returned to Yale University, his undergraduate alma mater, for residency and research training in psychiatry in 2003. He joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor in 2007 and is now a tenured Associate Professor and Assistant Chair for Translational Research in the Department of Psychiatry .

During his Ph.D. studies in basic neurobiology, he became fascinated by the brain's ability to go on autopilot -- to perform complex series of actions or thoughts, after sufficient rehearsal, with almost no conscious effort. Then, during his clinical training, he recognized how this process, when disrupted by disease, can lead to the maladaptive and disruptive automaticity seen in many neuropsychiatric disorders. His research, both with patients and in animal models, aims to elucidate the mechanisms of learned automatic behaviors and to better understand the consequences when they go awry, with the ultimate goal of developing new understandings and better treatments for a variety of neuropsychiatric conditions.

Dr. Pittenger's research and clinical work have been acknowledged by a number of prestigious awards, including grant funding from the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke, NARSAD, the Tourette Syndrome of America, the Doris Duke Charitable Trust, and other organizations.  He has won a number of honorific awards, including from the National Institute of Mental Health, the Society for Neuroscience, the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American College of Psychiatrists. He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the International OCD Foundation and Chair of both their Grant Review Committee and their Annual Research Symposium Planning Committee.  He is a Fellow of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Neurological Association. 


  • Elizabeth Mears and House Jameson Professor of Psychiatry
  • Assistant Chair for Translational Research, Psychiatry
  • Director, Yale OCD Research Clinic
  • Director, Neuroscience Research Training Program, Yale Department of Psychiatry

Education & Training

  • McNeil Research Fellow
    Yale University (2007)
  • Resident in Adult Psychiatry
    Yale University (2007)
  • MD
    Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons (2003)
  • PhD
    Columbia University (2002)
  • MPhil
    Columbia University (1998)
  • BS
    Yale University (1994)
  • MS
    Yale University (1994)
  • Diplomate
    American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology

Additional Information

  • Clinical Neuroscience Research Unit
    Connecticut Mental Health Center
    34 Park Street, Ste 3rd floor
    New Haven, CT, 06519