Sabina Berretta, MD

Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School

Sabina Berretta received her medical degree (Summa cum Laude) from the Facolta' di Medicina, Catania University, Italy, in 1989. She began her research training in anatomy and physiology at the Institute of Human Physiology of the University of Catania, Italy, under the supervision of Dr. V. Perciavalle. Her medical studies included a dissertation entitled "Influences of the Basal Ganglia on the Reticular Formation." In 1990, Berretta worked in Dr. A.M. Graybiel's laboratory at MIT in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. Her studies demonstrated that stimulation of the motor cortex differentially affects gene expression in distinct neuronal populations. While at MIT, Berretta's long-standing interest in brain disorders deepened, prompting her to join McLean Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, in 1997. In Dr. F.M. Benes' laboratory, she developed a rodent model designed to mimic dysfunctions of the amygdala in subjects with schizophrenia, and show that such dysfunction may contribute to changes in the hippocampus described in these patients. In 1999, Berretta began her work as an independent investigator as the director of the Laboratory for Translational Neuroscience at McLean Hospital. Her research is focused on the pathophysiology of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. In particular, she and her group are investigating the role of glial cells and extracellular matrix, and their interactions with distinct neuronal populations, in the pathophysiology of these disorders. A combination of postmortem investigations on the human brain and in vitro modeling are designed to test hypotheses on structural, molecular, and neurochemical components of these abnormalities and their mechanisms at the cellular and systemic levels.

Berretta has published over forty-five original manuscripts and reviews and currently holds the title of Associate Professor of Neuroscience in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.


  • MD University of Catania