Research/Publications Cards - Faculty

Peter Thompson

Research Interests:

The goals for my career are to develop improved treatments and identify biological markers for mood disorders. Through my training at Tufts University, University of California- San Diego and Scripps Research Institute, I have developed the clinical acumen and biological knowledge to achieve these goals. Currently, I am Department Chairman and Director of the Southwest Brain Bank. Clinically, I treat patients, direct the Southwest Brain Bank and Mood Disorders Division. As PI, co-PI and physician, I have participated with over fifty clinical research trials. This research includes testing new treatments and improving our phenomenological understanding of bipolar disorder. Initially, in the laboratory, I helped develop a mouse model of hyperkinesis/attention deficit hyperactivity disorder by gene knockout technology. Through this model, it became clear that the gene knockout of synaptosomal associated protein (SNAP-25) could provide additional information about the biology of mental illness. Using both behavioral and DSM based approach, I began to study the level of SNAP-25 across psychiatric diagnosis including major depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. To directly study tissue from individuals with mental illness, I established the first brain bank at University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio and now at Texas Tech University Health Science Center-El Paso. This work crosses both clinical and laboratory worlds. As director of the Southwest Brain Bank, I have developed a highly clinically characterized cohort of whole brain donations. I describe the clinical phenotypic by using psychometric instruments that I have validated for postmortem research. Many of the scales are symptom based and can be applied to either RDoC or DSM.

More recently, the laboratory has been focusing on psychiatric illness biomarkers. There is an urgent need to develop biomarkers that are inexpensively obtained and informative of psychiatric illness biology. While non-invasive techniques such as MRI and qEEG have greatly advanced our understating, the biology of mental illnesses and their applicability is limited by expense and availability.

Currently, we are looking at cytokines and growth factor psychiatric illness biomarkers that are found in both the brain parenchyma and blood. Additionally, the laboratory is developing techniques to inexpensively separate cell types in the donated tissue with FACS. This will allow us to better understand how different types of neuronal and glial cells biology is altered in psychiatric illness.

Dr. Peter M. Thompson’s Publications



Research Interests:

Dr. Silvina Tonarelli’s current research interests are related to neuropsychiatric manifestations of Traumatic Brain Injuries, Stroke, Seizures, Parkinson disease, Intellectual Disability Disorder, and other cognitive disorders. She also has an interest in medical education and wellbeing of trainees.

Honors and Awards:

Polymorphisms within ASTN2 gene are associated age at onset of Alzheimer disease. Certificate of Recognition for Poster Presentation 8th Annual Research Colloquium. May 2014.

“Department of Psychiatry Research Award” for achievement in Psychiatry Research, TTUHSC, June 2014.

Senior Resident of the Year Award for Excellence in Clinical Psychiatry, TTUHSC, June 2015.

The Amelia Leony-Carrete Award for Excellence in Psychotherapy, TTUHSC, June 2015.

Texas Tech University Medical Center 2017 Service Awards “5 years of Service” 2017.

Fellow of Leadership Education and Development - Program of the Association of American Medical Colleges April 2017.

Grant Support:

Minnesota Department of Health and Minnesota Stroke Registry Program- Principal Investigator Project: “Web-based Interactive Multimedia Stroke Education Program”. 2009-2010. $15,000

Care Delivery and Quality Improvement Committee Fairview Physician Associates Co-Investigator Project: “Implications and challenges of long term structured follow up in the management of acute stroke patients: A single center prospective study.”2010-2011. $10,000

Co-Investigator: “Central Nervous System Regulation mechanisms of Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome”. President’s Collaborative Research Initiative. March 2018

Educational Grant to support monthly Psychiatry Grand Round. Alkermes allocated $100 for the project. October 10, 2019

PI of the SARP Mini-Grant project: “Assessing Burnout during the Internal Medicine- Psychiatry Clerkship in Third Year Medical Students” allocated $1,840.00 for the project. Mentee: Harald Vogt. MS1. June 30, 2020

Dr. Silvina Tonarelli’s Publications



Research Interests:

Trauma and PTSD Psychiatry Services Mood Disorders

New Projects:

Prevalence of trauma-related symptoms in patients attending primary care outpatient clinic on the US-Mexico Border, risk factors and help seeking behavior. Protocol submitted to IRB- PI: Moataz M. Ragheb, MD; Shannon Tung (PLFSOM MSII)
Co-investigators: Peter Catinella, MD, Christopher Dodoo, MA, Luis Alvarado, MA
August 2020

Helping Hands Grant from American Psychiatric Association.
Grant Recipient: Shannon Tung MSII
Faculty Advisor: Moataz Ragheb, MD
July 2020

Co-investigator: Childhood Trauma Research Network: Done in 11 participating sites in Texas as part of SB-11. PI/TTUHSC EP Site Leader/PI: Cecilia DeVargas, MD
June 2020

Prevalence and risk factors of Female Hypoactive Sex Drive in patients attending primary care outpatient clinic on the US-Mexico Border. Protocol being prepared for submission to IRB
PI: Moataz M. Ragheb. MD, Nevetha Rajendran (PLFSOM MSII)
Co-investigators: Mary J Esparza, DO, Blake Busey, DO
July 2020


Van-Noy K, Payne L, Dodoo C, Ragheb M: Improving Psychiatric Medication Adherence: The Effect of Training Psychiatrists on the US-Mexico Border in Prescribing New Medications in the Children and Adolescent Population. Manuscript was submitted for publication 4/2020.

Abdel-Aziz K, ….., Ragheb M, et al: Pattern of Inpatient Admissions in the United Arab Emirates: A Transcultural Perspective. Manuscript was submitted for publication in BJP Intl
Presented as Poster- June 2016 at: Royal College of Psychiatrists International Congress 2016. London, United Kingdom. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.3194.3287

Zimmerman M, Martinez JH, Attiullah N, Friedman M, Toba C, Boerescu DA, Ragheb M.: A new type of scale for determining remission from depression: the Remission from Depression Questionnaire. J Psychiatr Res. 2013 January; 47(1):78-82

Zimmerman M1, Martinez J, Attiullah N, Friedman M, Toba C, Boerescu DA, Rahgeb M.: Determining remission from depression on two self-report symptom scales: a comparison of the Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology and the Clinically Useful Depression Outcome Scale. Compr Psychiatry. 2012 Oct;53(7):1034-8.

Ragheb, M: Principal Investigator: Prazosin for Treatment of Nightmares in Non-Combat Trauma Victims: An Open Label Pilot Study. Rhode Island Hospital, 593 Eddy St, Providence, RI 02903. 2006-2011

Zimmerman M, Galione JN, Attiullah N, Friedman M, Toba C, Boerescu DA, Ragheb M.: Depressed patients' perspectives of 2 measures of outcome: the Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology (QIDS) and the Remission from Depression Questionnaire (RDQ). Ann Clin Psychiatry. 2011 Aug; 23(3):208-12.

Zimmerman M, Galione JN, Attiullah N, Friedman M, Toba C, Boerescu DA, Ragheb M: Underrecognition of clinically significant side effects in depressed outpatients. J Clin Psychiatry. 2010 Apr; 71(4):484-90.

Ragheb, M, Goldberg, R: Tardive dyskinesia in geriatric patients. Aging Health 2006; 2(5): 833-849.

Ragheb M; Kirkpatrick B; Xu L & Ahmed T: A study of Integrins in Schizophrenia. Presented at Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, November 12; New Orleans LA. 2003 Ragheb, M: Principal Investigator: Egyptian study of Social Phobia in High school and University students in Cairo. Thesis for Doctorate Degree in Psychiatry; 2000-2005. Department of Neuropsychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, EGYPT.

Badrawy F; Khalil A; Awad A; Ramy H, Idriss Y & Ragheb M (2000): Maternal stress during pregnancy & neonatal status: physical & psychological perspectives. Presented at the 23rd International Annual Ain Shams Medical Congress, February 17-20, 2000, Cairo, Egypt.

Book Chapters:

Ragheb, M, Zimmerman M: Comorbidity of PTSD. In: Gil Reyes, Jon Elhai, and Julian Ford (editors); The Encyclopedia of Psychological Trauma. John Wiley & Sons Inc. 2008.

Ragheb, M: Psychotic symptoms, schizophrenia and antipsychotic agents. In: Richard J. Goldberg (Ed.) Practical Guide to the Care of the Psychiatric Patient: Practical Guide Series. 3rd edition. Mosby/Elsevier Inc. 2007



Honors and Awards:



Ortiz P., Latif F., Khin Khin E., Lieberman, D. (2018, October). “13 Reasons Why” and Psychiatric Presentations: Research in Progress. Poster presentation: American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law 49th Annual Meeting, Austin, Texas.

Hiller, C., Ortiz, P., Khin Khin, E. (2018, October). “Do No Harm” v. “Do No Homo”: Bans on Conversion Therapy for Minors by Licensed Mental Health Professionals. Poster presentation: American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law 49th Annual Meeting, Austin, Texas.

Ortiz, P., & Khin Khin, E. (2017, October). Suicide Contagion: Best Practices for Media Reporting. Poster presentation: American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law 48th Annual Meeting, Denver, Colorado.

Ortiz, P., Flores, A., Anchondo, I., Huang, C., Villanos, M.T., Maiyegun, S., Finch, C. (2015, April). Barriers to Breastfeeding on the Border: A comparison of year one and year two of a study of breastfeeding barriers at University Medical Center (UMC) that coincided with the implementation of UMC’s breastfeeding and support program. Poster presentation: Paul L. Foster School of Medicine Research Symposium, El Paso, Texas.


Ortiz, P., & Khin Khin, E. (2018). Traditional and new media’s influence on suicidal behavior and contagion. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 36(2), 245-256. doi:10.1002/bsl.2338.

Ortiz, P. (2017). The Werther Effect: Suicide Contagion and the Media. Washington Psychiatrist, 6(3), 5-7. Retrieved from



Research Interests:

As a child and adolescent psychiatrist, my research interests lie in the genetics of bipolar disorder, and public health issues such as obesity, smoking and substance use disorders in youth. Another related interest I have is in the treatment of psychiatric disorders during pregnancy.

Honors and Awards:

2003-2013 Army Commendation Medal (four awards), Meritorious Service Medal, USA Army.
2002-Who’s Who in American Medical Colleges, USA.
1998-2002 Uniformed Services Health Professionals Scholarships, USA.

Dr. Sarah Martin’s Publications:

Lande, R.G., Marin, B., Chang, A., Mason, S.L., and Lande, G.R. “A Survey of Alcohol Consumption Among First Year Medical Students.” Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2007;33(4):605-10.

Vargas-Medrano, J., Diaz-Pacheco,V. Castaneda, C., Miranda-Arango, M., Longhurst, M., Martin, S.L., Ghumman, U. Mangadu, T., Chheda, S., Thompson, P.M., and Gadad, B.S. Brain Behav Immun Health. 2020 Aug 5. doi: 10.1016/j.bbih.2020.100124

Current ongoing research:

Early Intervention Study- A study of the first degree relatives of those with bipolar disorder- can the severity of illness be mitigated by education on mental illness early or before onset of illness, Psychiatric Treatment During Pregnancy-attitudes surrounding the treatment of psychiatric disorders in pregnancy, ADHD and pediatric obesity- Does ADHD affect obesity rates in the children of our region, depression and suicide in Texas youth- a research network that follows children and adolescents in Texas who have depression or suicidal thoughts(funded by the Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium).



Research Interests:

Throughout my training both in Colombia and the United States I have actively participated in academics, clinical work and research studies with the goal to enrich my learning experience and to optimize the benefits to children/adolescents and families I care for. I am grateful for the opportunities I have received in the academic institutions and the numerous mentors that made my advancement in Medicine, Psychiatry/ Child Psychiatry, possible.

Current Research Studies:

1. Principal Investigator at the TTUHSCEP node of the Child Trauma Research Network, CTRN funded by the Senate Bill 11, Sb11 of the state of Texas which include the following aims:

  • To establish a research network of academic medical centers across the state of Texas that is trained to implement research studies in children with history of trauma.
  • Conduct a longitudinal observational study for youth following trauma life events to contribute to a child trauma research registry.
  • Develop predictive models for short and long term outcomes for children in the aftermath of one or more traumatic life events

2. Collaborator in the Helping the Helpers Study under the leadership of Melanie Longhurst, PhD et al and funded by the Paso Del Norte Foundation with the aim to assess and support first line workers during the COVID 19 Pandemic

Honors and Awards:

2020 Honor Your Mentor, AACAP News, Aisha Shariq fellow
2018 Honor Your mentor, AACAP News, Peter Sangra fellow
2018 Silver Star Award for Excellence in Psychiatric Care, El Paso Psychiatric Center, EPPC, El Paso, TX, USA.
2017 Gold Star Award for Excellence in Psychiatric Care, EPPC, El Paso, TX, USA.
2014 Outstanding Program Director Recognition, Class of 2014 TTUHSCEP, El Paso, TX, USA.
2014 Excellence in Teaching Recognition, class of 2014 TTUHSCEP, El Paso, TX, USA.

Dr. Cecilia de Vargas’s Publications

Carlos A Leon MD, Cecilia De Vargas MD, International research pilot project on Schizophrenia, Cali, Colombia 1966.
Carlos A Leon, MD, Cecilia De vargas MD Psycho-social aspects of Criminal Abortion, Revista Colombiana de Psiquiatria Cali Colombia 1966.
Suicide among Children and Adolescents, presentation to the Nat Conference of the American Association of Services for Children, El Paso TX 1980.
Leiner M, Puertas M, Carataches R, Altulru A, Briones D, De Vargas C Children's Mental Health and Collective Violence: A Binational Study on the US/Mexico Border. Rev Panam Salud Publica 31(5):p 411-6



Research Interests:

As a clinical psychologist, my primary research interests include the intersection of physical health and mental health concerns, integrated care, wellness, and multicultural issues, particularly those impacting Mexicans/Mexican Americans.

Honors and Awards:

2014: Diversity in Psychological Science Research Award, Texas Tech University Department of Psychological Sciences
2014: Best Introductory Psychology Instructor Award, Texas Tech University Department of Psychological Sciences
2012-2013: Covenant Health and Social Services Graduate Fellowship, Texas Tech University
2011-2012: Department of Psychological Sciences Scholarship, Texas Tech University
2001-2004: National Hispanic Merit Scholar Scholarship, Florida State University


Vargas-Medrano, J., Diaz-Pacheco, V., Castaneda, C., Miranda-Arango M., Longhurst, M.O., Martin, S.L., Ghumman, U., Mangadu, T., Cheda, S., Thompson, P.M., Gadad, B.S., (2020). Psychological and neurobiological aspects of suicide in adolescents: Current outlooks. Brain, Behavior, & Immunity - Health,

Hardin, E. E., & Longhurst, M. O. (2016). Understanding the gender gap: Social cognitive changes during an introductory STEM course. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 63, 233-239. doi:10.1037/cou0000119



Research Interests:

My laboratory is focused on genetic, epigenetic alterations and cell-signaling in suicidality. My lab is involved in understanding the molecular and functional characterization of neurons and other cell types, signaling mechanisms related to suicidality. My laboratory is also interested in disseminating the inflammatory pathways related to suicidality utilizing in the post-mortem tissue brain subjects. We are also actively involved in generating cellular models for treatment resistant depressed/anxiety populations; early intervention in adolescents with depression and childhood trauma in the US-Mexico border population of the Paso Del Norte Region.

Honors and Awards:

2020- BMC Psychiatry, Associate Editor.
2020-NARSAD, Brain Behavior Research Foundation, Young Investigator Grant, $70,000
2020-ASCP Scientific Program Committee, New Investigator Awardee Mentorship Committee, American Society for Clinical Pharmacology (ASCP).
2019- Mentorship, New Investigator Awardees, American Society for Clinical Pharmacology (ASCP), Scottsdale, Arizona
2018- American Society for Clinical Pharmacology (ASCP) New Investigator Award
2018- American Society for Clinical Pharmacology (ASCP) Travel Award, Miami, Florida
2017- American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP)-ADAA Travel Award
2017- PCBC Scholarship Award, NHLBI, NIH to attend the Stem Cell and Gene Editing Workshop at Stanford University.
2016-Allies Muskin Career Development Award (CDLP) Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
2016- ADAA Best Poster Award and Honorary Mention.
2015- SOBP Early Career Investigator Travel Award.
2014- Editorial Board, Austin Journal of Psychiatry and Behavior
2013- Adjunct faculty for Center for Neuroscience, INDICASAT-Panama
2012- Associate Editor, Journal of Alzheimer’s disease till date.
2009- Young Investigator Award by International Society for Neurochemistry (ISN)
2008- Cold Spring harbor laboratory (CSHL) Travel Award, NY
2008- FEBS-IUBMB Young Scientist Forum travel award, Athens, Greece.
2007-International Brain Research Organization (IBRO) Travel Award, World congress of Neuroscience meeting, Melbourne, Australia
2007- Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Travel Award, 8th International AD-PD conference held at Salzburg, Austria.
2007 COSTED, CSIR Travel Award, 8th International AD-PD conference, Salzburg, Austria.
2007 International Brain Research Organization (IBRO) Travel Award, IBRO-FAONS meeting, Hong Kong.
2006 Nominated for Indian Young Scientist Award under Medical Sciences Section by Indian Science Congress association of India, Hyderabad.
2005 Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Research Fellowship, Government of India for 3 years.
2004 Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Research Fellowship, Government of India for 3 years.
2004 International Brain Research Organization (IBRO) Travel Award
2004 American Alzheimer’s Travel Award, APSN Meeting, Srilanka.
2003 International Society for Neurochemistry (ISN/APSN) Travel Award, Hong Kong.

Research Support:

NARSAD- Brain Behavior Research Foundation (2019) Young Investigator Grant to study the role of “Functional Characterization of Neuron-Microglial Specific Markers in Post-Mortem Brain Subjects of Major Depressive Disorder.” $70,000, 2020-2022.

McKee and Evelyn Grant Foundation: “Understanding the cellular subtypes and its role in suicidality by FACS” $20,000, 2020.

Dr. Bharathi S. Gadad’s Publications