Department of Psychiatry
Penn Behavioral Health

Penn Mental Health AIDS Research Center (PMHARC)

Philadelphia cityscape

Core Structure

PMHARC’s 6 Cores function in an integrative fashion to promote Center cohesiveness and build the capacity to conduct collaborative research.


Administrative Core

The Administrative Core guides PMHARC’s activities and administrative processes, establishes guidelines for Core conduct and interactions, ensures that Cores implement PMHARC’s Specific Aims, goals, and short- and long-term objectives, and promotes effective inter-Core collaborations. 
Director: Dwight Evans, MD
Co-Directors:
Michael Blank, PhD and David Metzger, PhD


Developmental Core

The Developmental Core trains and mentors: new investigators entering the mental illness and HIV/AIDS fields; established investigators continuing ongoing work in these areas; and established investigators bridging to a new focus on comorbid illness. It will select 4-6 pilot projects each year to stimulate and support biological and behavioral studies of innovative, integrated treatments for comorbid mental illness/AIDS.
Director: David Metzger, PhD
Co-Directors: C. Neill Epperson, MD and Racquel Gur, MD, PhD


Clinical Assessment Core

The Clinical Assessment Core assists investigators in recruiting patients for clinical studies, provides trained diagnosticians/evaluators to conduct clinical assessments in Center studies, and oversees administration of a core battery of behavioral measures. 
Director: Paul Crits-Christoph, PhD
Co-Directors: Pablo Tebas, MD and Robert Gross, MD, MSCE


Invervention Core

The Intervention Core links with community partners and   trains investigators and research staff to implement a broad range of interventions - contemporary pharmacotherapy, psychotherapy, and combined pharmaco-psychotherapy - for treatment of mental illness and HIV/AIDS and their comorbidities; consults on the design of HIV intervention projects; facilitates dissemination of evidence-based interventions for the treatment of mental illness and HIV/AIDS; and studies the comparative effectiveness and cost effectiveness of treatments in community settings, increasing the likelihood that they will be applied in "real-world" environments.
Director: Michael Blank, PhD
Co-Directors: John B. Jemmott III, PhD and Michael Thase, MD


Laboratory Biomarkers, Quantitative Pharmacology, Neuroimaging, and Neurobehavioral Characterization Core

The Laboratory Biomarkers, Quantitative Pharmacology, Neuroimaging, and Neurobehavioral Characterization Core  performs measurements and assays for all pilots and other studies focused on treatments of comorbid mental illness and HIV/AIDS, including immunology/virology/metabolic markers; pharmacokinetics and quantitative pharmacology; and neurocognitive and neuroimaging characterization. Core E also performs assessments that will define mental illnesses, HIV/AIDS, and the comorbid characteristics common to both. It additionally maintains a specimen repository, which includes plasma, serum, cells, and genomic DNA. 
Director: Steve Douglas, MD
Co-Directors: Ruben Gur, PhD and Jeffrey Barrett, PhD


Biostatistics and Data Management Core

The Biostatistics and Data Management Core applies rigorous statistical and analytic methodologies and effective data management in working with all Cores, pilot research project investigators, and other Penn/CHOP researchers wishing to continue or initiate new studies in comorbid mental illness/AIDS. 
Director: Jonas Ellenberg, PhD
Co-Director: Knashawn Morales, ScD