About the Research Track

Joshua Woolley, MD, PhD

PGY-4 Resident in Psychiatry, UCSF

Entered RRTP:

Mentored by:

Contact Information:

Research Areas:

, ,


Brown University, Bachelor's Degree, cum laude

University of California, San Francisco, MD, PhD in Neuroscience

Postgraduate Training:

UCSF, Psychiatry Residency; UCSF Psychiatry Resident Research Track

Research Focus:

Feeding behavior and FTD

Joshua D. Woolley, MD, PhD, received his Bachelor’s Degree from Brown University and his MD and PhD in Neuroscience from the University of California, San Francisco. He was graduated summa cum laude from Brown University and during his undergraduate years received the Weston Prize for excellence in Psychology and Developmental Biology, the John Wellington Prize for excellence in Metaphysics, and the Goldwater Prize for excellence in Science and Mathematics, as well as an undergraduate Hughes Fellowship. Additionally, he was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to the Karolinska Institute.

At UCSF, he has chosen to work with Dr. Bruce Miller in the Department of Neurology to study feeding and energy expenditure in patients with frontotemporal dementia (FTD). The work has already resulted in one publication in press in Neurology, which found that binge eating was associated with right orbitofrontal-insular-striatal atrophy in patients with frontotemporal dementia. Despite overeating, these patients were not significantly heavier or larger waisted than other patients or controls. Dr. Woolley hypothesizes that atrophy in the regions specified integrate internal satiety signals with environmental food cues to produce adaptive eating behavior. Thus far, he has noted a trend for baseline ghrelin levels to be lower in patients with FTD compared to care givers.

More recently, he has developed his program of research to focus on understanding and possibly treating the neurohormonal underpinnings of social behavior in patients with schizophrenia. His work utilizes intranasal administration of oxytocin, laboratory paradigms of social behacior and psychophysiology. Dr. Woolley has received a grant from the UCSF Child Division of the Department of Psychiatry to investigate the utility of intranasal oxytocin administration to ameliorate social cognitive deficits in adolescents with recent onset schizophrenia.

Thus far, Dr. Woolley has published eleven peer reviewed publications (ten of which are first authored) in leading neuroscience journals.