Paulo Lizano, MD, PhD

Paulo Lizano, MD, PhD
Sidney R. Baer, Jr. Foundational Fellow in the Clinical Neurosciences

Education History:
M.D., Rutgers University, New Jersey Medical School
Ph.D. Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine, Rutgers University
B.S. Biochemistry, Rutgers University

Clinical Training
Psychiatry Residency, Harvard Longwood Psychiatry Residency, Boston, MA

Research Interests

My research interest is in the psychiatric applications of structural/functional neuroimaging and behavior, and how they relate to inflammatory and microvascular signaling pathways. During residency, I studied the association of peripheral inflammatory/microvascular protein markers on psychopathology, cognition, and brain structure in familial high risk (FHR), first episode psychosis (FEP), and chronic schizophrenia (CZ) patients. This work identified the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and sFlt-1, an anti-angiogenic factor, as being significantly elevated in FHR. I also found that sFlt-1 significantly correlated with VEGF in FHR and FEP individuals demonstrating an activation of microvascular pathways that was not present in controls. My longitudinal analysis demonstrated that over time, elevations of sFlt-1 are associated with worsening psychopathology and gray matter parahippocampal volume and thickness loss. I also examined the role of microvascular SNPs on psychopathology and brain structure in a larger dataset of CZ patients; utilizing a network analysis approach, I showed that particular clusters of angiogenic SNPs can have either neuro-enhancing or neuro–pathological effects. This work has further implicated the role of microvascular signaling pathways in the risk for psychosis. My scholarly pursuits have led me down a path exploring the relationships between the microvascular system, brain, and behavior by exploring it through the retinal and choroid in patients with psychotic disorders.

Clinical Interests:

I will seek to develop clinical expertise in treating psychotic symptoms in patients with vascular, inflammatory, neurodevelopmental, and cognitive disorders.

Personal Interests/Hobbies:

I enjoy spending time with my wife, daughter and two cats, as well as hiking, amateur birding, reading, and traveling.

Personal Goals

I hope to continue to develop my interest in clinical and translational research utilizing biomarkers to inform treatment with novel pharmacologic and noninvasive brain stimulation methods for the treatment of psychotic disorders

Selected Research Publications:

  1. Hill K, Bolo N, Mothi S, Lizano P, Guimond S, Tandon N, Molokotos E, Keshavan M. Subcortical Surface Shape in Youth at Familial High Risk for Schizophrenia. Psychiatry Res. 2017 Jul 14;267:36-44.
  2. Lizano P, Rashed E, Stoll S, Zhou N, Wen H, Hays T, Qin G, Xie L, Depre C, Qui H. The valosin-containing protein is a novel mediator of mitochondrial respiration and cell survival in the heart in vivo. Sci Rep. 2017 Apr 20;7:46324.
  3. Lizano P, Yao J, Tandon, N, Sarvode S, Montrose DM, Keshavan M. Association of sFlt-1 and Worsening Psychopathology in relatives at High Risk for Psychosis: A Longitudinal Study. Schizophr Res. 2017 May;183:75-81.
  4. Lizano P, Popat-Jain A, Scharf JM, Berman NC, Widge A, Dougher
  5. Lizano P, Keshavan M, Tandon, N, Mathew I, Sarvode Mothi S, Montrose D, Yao J. Angiogenic and immune signatures in plasma of young relatives at familial high-risk for psychosis and first-episode patients: a preliminary study. Schizophrenia Research. 2015 Jan;170(1);115-22.
  6. Haller C, Padmanabhan J, Lizano P, Torous J, Keshavan M. Recent advances in understanding schizophrenia. F1000 Prime Reports. 2014 Jul; 8:6:57.


  1. Lizano P, Lutz O, Tandon N, Ruaño G, Kocherla M, Windemuth A, Sweeney J, Pearlson G, Clementz B, Tamminga C, Keshavan M: Association of VEGFA polymorphism with psychosis; correlations with symptoms, cognition, and brain structure. International Congress of Schizophrenia Research, 2017 March.
  2. Yao J, Lizano P, Keshavan M. Angiogenic and immune signatures, psychosis risk and early psychoses. Neurobiology of Mind and Body: Behavior, Stress, Brain Diseases, Immunity, Drugs and Nutrition, 2016, October.
  3. Lutz O, Lizano P, Mothi S, Tandon N, Tamminga C, Clementz B, Sweeney J, Pearlson G, Keshavan M. Investigating brain structure across Bipolar disorder Subtypes: Findings from the Psychosis Affective Research Domain Intermediate Phenotypes (PARDIP) Study. Society of Biological Psychiatry, 2017, May.