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Zubieta Named Chair of the Department of Psychiatry


University of Utah Health Sciences is pleased to announce Jon-Kar Zubieta, M.D., Ph.D., as its new chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the University's School of Medicine and Psychiatrist-in-Chief of the University Neuropsychiatric Institute. Zubieta, who currently holds several roles at the University of Michigan, will step into his new position July 1.

With formal training in the neurosciences, psychiatry and nuclear medicine and a background in clinical work and research, Zubieta is dedicated to promoting innovation at the interface between patient care and scientific discovery.

It's this passion that drew Zubieta to a new opportunity in Salt Lake City.

"I was intrigued by the University of Utah's initiatives that emphasize innovation, excellence in clinical care, and science," Zubieta said. "The neuroscience and genetics initiatives are of major interest to me to advance personalized medicine and develop the next generation of educators, clinicians and scientists — and the skiing and bicycling are plusses on the personal side."

A native of Bilbao, Spain, Zubieta has served as a faculty member at the University of Michigan since 1995 after clinical and research training at the University of Michigan and Johns Hopkins University. He's currently and endowed professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Radiology and the Neurosciences Program. He's also a research professor in the University of Michigan's Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute and Associate Chair for Research in the Department of Psychiatry.

His clinical work has centered primarily around mood disorders while his research focuses on the neurobiological mechanisms and the regulation of stress responses utilizing functional and molecular imaging in humans, which he has applied to the study of mood disorders, persistent pain conditions and substance abuse.

"Zubieta's extensive experience makes him an excellent addition to the University of Utah," said Vivian Lee, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., senior vice president of University of Utah Health Sciences and dean of the School of Medicine. "I am impressed with his vision to lead the Department of Psychiatry to excel nationally in ready access to high-value, patient-centered care; to advance innovative and collaborative research; and to foster a respectful teaching and learning environment that equips the next generation of providers for the changing world," Lee said.

Zubieta looks forward to getting to know the University's people and system, bringing in outstanding recruits, and planning the future direction of the Department of Psychiatry.