Photo of Maurizio Fava,  MD

Maurizio Fava, MD

Massachusetts General Hospital

Massachusetts General Hospital
Phone: (617) 724-2513
Fax: (617) 726-2688

Maurizio Fava, MD

Massachusetts General Hospital


  • Slater Family Professor of Psychiatry, Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
  • Executive Vice Chair, Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Executive Director, Clinical Trials Network and Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Director, MGH Clinical Research Program, Massachusetts General Hospital


Research Abstract

Dr. Fava is currently Director of the Clinical Research Program (CRP) at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Executive Vice Chair, Department of Psychiatry at MGH, and Executive Director of the MGH Clinical Trials Network and Institute (CTNI), as well as Slater Family Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Fava founded the Depression Clinical and Research Program (DCRP) at MGH in 1990 and was Director of the DCRP from 1990 to 2014. Dr. Fava was able to expand the DCRP program significantly, increasing the spending budget from $100,000 to over $3,000,000 per year. His research program’s impact on the field also increased over the years, as reflected by the DCRP’s publishing on average over 40 original articles/year in refereed journals. Under Dr. Fava’s direction, the DCRP became one of the leading centers for the study of Unipolar Depressive Disorders in the world. Dr. Fava was the co-Principal Investigator with Dr. A.John Rush of the largest clinical trial ever conducted in depression, STAR*D, whose findings were published in journals such NEJM and JAMA. In addition to his numerous clinical trials and studies in treatment resistant depression, Dr. Fava has contributed significantly to the field of psychiatric research in a number of other areas. He has identified a subtype of depressive disorder characterized by marked irritability and “anger attacks.” His innovative work has led to the discovery that these individuals present a blunted prolactin response to fenfluramine challenge, are more likely to have brain white matter hyperintensities, and may selectively respond to serotonergic compounds. In addition, Dr. Fava has conducted important investigations on the role of folate deficiency in depression and on the efficacy in depression of one carbon cycle elements with putative antidepressant effects such as s-adenosyl-methionine (SAMe) and methylfolate. His pioneering work in this area led to his R-01 grant on the efficacy of SAMe in major depressive disorder (MDD) and to the successful trial of SAMe augmentation in resistant depression, published in the Am J Psychiatry. He has conducted and published the first prospective, placebo-controlled study of discontinuation-emergent adverse events of the newer antidepressants and he has designed and developed a protocol for the first, large multicenter study on the effects of abrupt interruption of SSRI treatment. He has completed a large single-site study of bupropion augmentation of the nicotine patch in depressed smokers (as part of one of his previous R-01s) and he was the PI of a large, 9-year U-01 aimed at developing new treatments for nicotine dependence. He has developed with Dr. David Schoenfeld a novel design (with over five patents) to address the problem of excessive placebo response in drug trials and to markedly reduce sample size requirements for these trials. He has also been very active in developing new instruments to measure the effects of antidepressants treatments, and several of his validated instruments (such as the DESS scale, SFQ scale, and the CPFQ scale) are being used by clinical investigators all over the world. With respect to his publications, Dr. Fava has authored or co-authored over 600 original articles published in refereed medical journals with international circulation. The citation impact of Dr. Fava’s work is extremely high, as his articles have been cited more than 35,000 times in the literature, with an h index of over 100. He has also edited eight books, and he has published more than 80 chapters/reviews and over 500 abstracts. In 2007, he founded and is now the Executive Director of the MGH Psychiatry Clinical Trials Network and Institute (CTNI), the first academic CRO specialized in the coordination of multi-center clinical trials in psychiatry. The MGH CTNI is currently conducting numerous large multi-center clinical trials and helping develop new treatments for psychiatric disorders. Dr. Fava was able to recently obtain as PI the large NIMH-sponsored RAPID contract, aimed as studying novel treatments for depression with rapid antidepressant effects through a network of academic sites coordinated by the MGH CTNI. Over the past 24 years, Dr. Fava has also been successful in obtaining over $59,000,000 in funding for his program, as principal or co-principal investigator, from the National Institute of Health, other federal agencies, foundations, and pharmaceutical industries. In April 2014, Dr. Fava was named Director of the Clinical Research Program (CRP) at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).

Dr. Fava has an excellent track record as a teacher and has been very active in instructing and supervising psychiatric residents and fellows. Over the past 24 years, Dr. Fava has also trained and mentored over 50 research fellows/junior faculty in his program, many of whom have continued to work in the area of psychiatric research following completion of their fellowship. Dr. Fava has also been the mentor/sponsor for over 30 successful NARSAD, APA, and K Award fellowship applications (he is currently mentoring three K-23 Award recipients), and he has received the A. Clifford Barger Excellence in Mentoring Award, Harvard Medical School and the John T. Potts, Jr., MD Faculty Mentoring Award/2012. Over the past several years, he has organized and chaired numerous national and international symposia and has served on many advisory panels for pharmaceutical companies. In addition, he has reviewed grant proposals and specific RFP concepts/contracts for the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute of Drug Abuse, and the NCCAM. Dr. Fava is currently the co-director of the Psychopharmacology Course of the MGH Psychiatry Academy, one of the most highly attended courses in the country, with approximately 600 participants each year. Dr. Fava has also lectured extensively, with over 300 presentations at national and international meetings and conferences. Dr. Fava was recently elected President of the American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology (ASCP).

Dr. Fava is considered an expert psychopharmacologist in the area of depression and frequently provides consultations to difficult cases referred to him from all over the world. He has been for the past 15 years in charge of a large PO group practice of clinicians specialized in the treatment of patients with mood disorders, and his leadership skills have been critical to the financial success of this group.



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  • Ostergaard SD, Bech P, Trivedi MH, Wisniewski SR, Rush AJ, Fava M. Brief, unidimensional melancholia rating scales are highly sensitive to the effect of citalopram and may have biological validity: Implications for the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC). J Affect Disord 2014; 163:18-24. PubMed
  • Fava M, Ball S, Nelson JC, Sparks J, Konechnik T, Classi P, Dube S, Thase ME. Clinical relevance of fatigue as a residual symptom in major depressive disorder. Depress Anxiety 2014; 31:250-7. PubMed
  • Sarris J, Nierenberg AA, Schweitzer I, Alpert JE, Rosenbaum JF, Iovieno N, Covino J, Fava M, Mischoulon D. Conditional probability of response or nonresponse of placebo compared with antidepressants or St John's Wort in major depressive disorder. J Clin Psychopharmacol 2013; 33:827-30. PubMed
  • Jeon HJ, Peng D, Chua HC, Srisurapanont M, Fava M, Bae JN, Man Chang S, Hong JP. Melancholic features and hostility are associated with suicidality risk in Asian patients with major depressive disorder. J Affect Disord 2013. PubMed
  • Farabaugh A, Alpert J, Wisniewski SR, Otto MW, Fava M, Baer L, Perlis R, Friedman E, Nyer M, Bitran S, Balasubramani GK, Inamori A, Trivedi M, Thase ME. Cognitive therapy for anxious depression in STAR(⁎)D: What have we learned? J Affect Disord 2012; 142:213-8. PubMed
  • Papakostas GI, Vitolo OV, Ishak WW, Rapaport MH, Zajecka JM, Kinrys G, Mischoulon D, Lipkin SH, Hails KA, Abrams J, Ward SG, Meisner A, Schoenfeld DA, Shelton RC, Winokur A, Okasha MS, Bari MA, Fava M. A 12-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, sequential parallel comparison trial of ziprasidone as monotherapy for major depressive disorder. J Clin Psychiatry 2013; 73:1541-7. PubMed
  • Gallagher PJ, Castro V, Fava M, Weilburg JB, Murphy SN, Gainer VS, Churchill SE, Kohane IS, Iosifescu DV, Smoller JW, Perlis RH. Antidepressant Response in Patients With Major Depression Exposed to NSAIDs: A Pharmacovigilance Study. Am J Psychiatry 2012; 169:1065-72. PubMed
  • Janes AC, Pizzagalli DA, Richardt S, Frederick Bde B, Holmes AJ, Sousa J, Fava M, Evins AE, Kaufman MJ. Neural substrates of attentional bias for smoking-related cues: an FMRI study. Neuropsychopharmacology 2010; 35:2339-45. PubMed
  • Janes AC, Pizzagalli DA, Richardt S, Frederick BD, Chuzi S, Pachas G, Culhane MA, Holmes AJ, Fava M, Evins AE, Kaufman MJ. Brain Reactivity to Smoking Cues Prior to Smoking Cessation Predicts Ability to Maintain Tobacco Abstinence. Biol Psychiatry 2010; 67:722-9. PubMed
  • Davis LL, Wisniewski SR, Howland RH, Trivedi MH, Husain MM, Fava M, McGrath PJ, Balasubramani GK, Warden D, Rush AJ. Does comorbid substance use disorder impair recovery from major depression with SSRI treatment? An analysis of the STAR*D level one treatment outcomes. Drug Alcohol Depend 2010; 107:161-70. PubMed
  • Kim BW, Kennedy DN, Lehár J, Lee MJ, Blood AJ, Lee S, Perlis RH, Smoller JW, Morris R, Fava M, Breiter HC, . Recurrent, robust and scalable patterns underlie human approach and avoidance. PLoS ONE 2010; 5:e10613. PubMed
  • Janes AC, Frederick B, Richardt S, Burbridge C, Merlo-Pich E, Renshaw PF, Evins AE, Fava M, Kaufman MJ. Brain fMRI reactivity to smoking-related images before and during extended smoking abstinence. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol 2009; 17:365-73. PubMed
  • Kashner TM, Trivedi MH, Wicker A, Fava M, Shores-Wilson K, Wisniewski SR, Rush AJ. Release bias in accessing medical records in clinical trials: a STAR*D report. Int J Methods Psychiatr Res 2009; 18:147-58. PubMed
  • Mischoulon D, Burger JK, Spillmann MK, Worthington JJ, Fava M, Alpert JE. Anemia and macrocytosis in the prediction of serum folate and vitamin B12 status, and treatment outcome in major depression. J Psychosom Res 2000; 49:183-7. PubMed
  • Fava M, Amsterdam JD, Deltito JA, Salzman C, Schwaller M, Dunner DL. A double-blind study of paroxetine, fluoxetine, and placebo in outpatients with major depression. Ann Clin Psychiatry 1999; 10:145-50. PubMed
  • Rosenbaum JF, Fava M, Hoog SL, Ascroft RC, Krebs WB. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor discontinuation syndrome: a randomized clinical trial. Biol Psychiatry 1998; 44:77-87. PubMed
  • Stewart JW, Quitkin FM, McGrath PJ, Amsterdam J, Fava M, Fawcett J, Reimherr F, Rosenbaum J, Beasley C, Roback P. Use of pattern analysis to predict differential relapse of remitted patients with major depression during 1 year of treatment with fluoxetine or placebo. Arch Gen Psychiatry 1998; 55:334-43. PubMed
  • Fava M, Mulroy R, Alpert J, Nierenberg AA, Rosenbaum JF. Emergence of adverse events following discontinuation of treatment with extended-release venlafaxine. Am J Psychiatry 1997; 154:1760-2. PubMed
  • Thase ME, Fava M, Halbreich U, Kocsis JH, Koran L, Davidson J, Rosenbaum J, Harrison W. A placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial comparing sertraline and imipramine for the treatment of dysthymia. Arch Gen Psychiatry 1996; 53:777-84. PubMed
  • Fava M, Rappe SM, Pava JA, Nierenberg AA, Alpert JE, Rosenbaum JF. Relapse in patients on long-term fluoxetine treatment: response to increased fluoxetine dose. J Clin Psychiatry 1995; 56:52-5. PubMed
  • Rosenbaum JF, Fava M, Pava JA, McCarthy MK, Steingard RJ, Bouffides E. Anger attacks in unipolar depression, Part 2: Neuroendocrine correlates and changes following fluoxetine treatment. Am J Psychiatry 1993; 150:1164-8. PubMed
  • Fava M, Rosenbaum JF, Cohen L, Reiter S, McCarthy M, Steingard R, Clancy K. High-dose fluoxetine in the treatment of depressed patients not responsive to a standard dose of fluoxetine. J Affect Disord 1992; 25:229-34. PubMed
  • Fava M, Rosenbaum JF. Suicidality and fluoxetine: is there a relationship? J Clin Psychiatry 1991; 52:108-11. PubMed
  • Rosenbaum JF, Fava M, Falk WE, Pollack MH, Cohen LS, Cohen BM, Zubenko GS. The antidepressant potential of oral S-adenosyl-l-methionine. Acta Psychiatr Scand 1990; 81:432-6. PubMed