Dost Öngür, M.D., Ph.D., is the clinical director for the Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder Program at McLean Hospital and an assistant professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He earned his medical degree from Washington University in St. Louis and completed his residency training at McLean Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital.
In his clinical role at McLean Hospital, Dr. Öngür leads a 28-bed inpatient program that specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other psychotic disorders. He also serves as a mentor and teacher to residents in the Massachusetts General Hospital/McLean Hospital Adult Psychiatry Residency Training Program.
In recognition for excellence in teaching, Dr. Öngür earned the Philip L. Isenberg Teaching Award from the Massachusetts General Hospital/Mclean Hospital Adult Psychiatry Residency Training Program in 2007.
Since joining the staff of McLean Hospital, Dr. Öngür has been instrumental in using imaging techniques to enhance what we know about the causes of bipolar disorder. In previous work with postmortem human brains from people with bipolar disorder, Dr. Öngür discovered cellular abnormalities in a part of the brain responsible for emotional and cognitive processing called the prefrontal cortex. These abnormalities may impact the balance of two major chemicals in the brain, glutamate and GABA; recent evidence indicates that glutamate and GABA play a major role in the setting of mood and modulating their activity can be useful in treating mood disorders such as bipolar disorder.
Despite this background, these chemicals have not been studied carefully in patients with bipolar disorder because techniques for doing so have not been available. Working with colleagues in the Brain Imaging Center, he has developed these techniques and is studying the balance of glutamate and GABA in the prefrontal cortex.
So far, Dr. Öngür and his colleagues have found abnormalities in patients experiencing manic episodes and are now studying patients in other phases of bipolar disorder.
Dr. Öngür is a member of the Society for Neuroscience, Phi Beta Kappa Academic Society, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association and the International Society for Bipolar Disorder. He serves on the advisory board for the journal European Psychiatry and is the associate editor for the Harvard Review of Psychiatry.
Dr. Öngür is a paid consultant for the ABCNews.com OnCall+ Mind & Mood - Bipolar Disorder Center.