Researchers4The UAB Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology is excited to welcome three new research-focused faculty members to add to the existing departmental research programs in depression, addiction, and schizophrenia.

Scott Pruett, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Scott Pruett joined the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry as an Assistant Professor.   Dr. Pruett graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Louisiana Scholars’ College at Northwestern State University before receiving his M.D. and Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Neuroscience from Louisiana State University.  In 2018, he completed a residency in General Adult Psychiatry at Brown University.  Dr. Pruett’s research publications have focused on brainstem mechanisms of movement disorders, but have recently shifted to Christian syndrome.  His plan at UAB is to further his research in molecular psychiatry to focus on schizophrenia, and will lead efforts to develop a translational research program focused on this illness. In addition, Dr. Pruett serves as part of our inpatient attending team in the UAB Center for Psychiatric Medicine.

Minae Niwa, Ph.D.

Dr. Minae Niwa joined the UAB Department of Psychiatry as an Assistant Professor. She received her Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Science from the Tokyo University and her Ph.D. in Neuropsychopharmacology from Nagoya University, Japan. Dr. Niwa pursued a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry at Nagoya University, followed by a fellowship in Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University where she eventually joined faculty. Dr. Niwa has published nearly 40 peer reviewed papers, and is a recipient of a prestigious NARSAD Young Investigator Award. Her primary research interests focus on early life stress, and mechanisms by which stress leads to addiction as well as mood and cognitive disorders.

Shin-ichi Kano, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Kano joined the UAB Department of Psychiatry as an Associate Professor. He received his M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Tokyo followed by a brief postdoctoral fellowship in Immunology. Dr. Kano left the University of Tokyo to pursue additional training as a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University, where he eventually transitioned to a faculty position in Psychiatry.  His research interests focus on neuroinflammation, particularly in relation to mood disorders and social behaviors. He also has an interest in longitudinal studies on first episode psychosis patients.  Dr. Kano is credited with having published 25 peer reviewed papers to date and has been successful in securing NIH funding, recently receiving a major grant to study inflammation and behavior. 

All three of these new faculty members join the Department's Division of Behavioral Neurobiology, which is the primary research unit of the department housing a group of 17 neuroscientists and clinicians who are all focused on studying the neurobiology of major psychiatric disorders, with a goal  mental disorders to translate their research findings into improved diagnosis, treatment, and management of these mental illnesses.