Dr. Minassian received her doctorate from the California School of Professional Psychology-San Diego. She completed her predoctoral internship in the UCSD Psychology Internship Training Program and continued at UCSD as a post-doctoral fellow in the NIMH Fellowship in Biological Psychiatry and Neuroscience. She joined the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry as an Assistant Project Scientist in July of 2004 and is currently a Clinical Professor. Her research laboratory is located at the UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest. She also serves a faculty psychologist at the Medical Center and a clinical supervisor in the Psychology Internship Training Program.
Dr. Minassian’s research program is focused upon understanding the relationship between biology and behavior in mental illness, medical illness, and substance abuse. Much of her research has implemented physiological and cognitive paradigms to understand brain dysfunction in psychiatric populations such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, PTSD, and substance addiction as well as neuromedical conditions such as HIV. The methodologies she has helped develop and implement can be translated to animals, an application which accelerates our understanding of biological mechanisms. She serves as a Principal Investigator on an NIH-funded study to study the effects of cannabis use on cognition and brain neuortransmitters in HIV. She is also a co-investigator on a number of NIH-funded studies of inhibitory and cognitive deficits in bipolar disorder. Dr. Minassian is a clinical psychologist and an attending clinician in the UCSD Health Systems. Her clinical area of expertise is consultation-liaison and she works with medically ill patients on the Burn Service, in the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program, as well as with individuals with chronic pain and those awaiting organ transplantation. She is Vice Chair of the department’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Action Council and also serves on university- and hospital-wide diversity focus groups.