Owen M. Wolkowitz, MD


  • Professor of Psychiatry, UCSF Weill Institute for Neuroscience
  • Co-Director, UCSF Depression Center


  • MD, University of Maryland
  • Residency in psychiatry, Stanford University
  • Fellowship in psychopharmacology, National Institute of Mental Health


Dr. Wolkowitz has been continuously involved in clinical-translational psychiatric research, treatment and education for over 30 years, with a focus on the mechanisms of stress-related mental illnesses and on novel mechanism-based treatments. He has applied this line of investigation primarily to major depression but also to PTSD, dementia and schizophrenia, as well as to “accelerated aging” processes that accompany these conditions. He has broad experience in treatment trials in these populations, and has specific knowledge of biomarkers relevant to aging, neuropsychiatric illness and immune system disorders, such as steroids and neurosteroids, cellular aging, oxidative stress, inflammation, neurotrophic factors and neuroimaging. In certain serious psychiatric disorders, cellular abnormalities may be related to these factors and may contribute to the increased physical disease burden seen in many psychiatric illnesses. He is currently fitting his group’s data into mechanistic models to clarify the mediators of physical illness in the context of stress and psychiatric illness and to identify new treatment targets. These studies are suggesting that psychiatric illnesses have identifiable biological abnormalities, and that depression is more than just “all in your mind.”

Clinical focus

Mood and anxiety disorders

Teaching focus

Clinical supervision, psychopharmacological treatment of depression and anxiety disorders, role of stress in mental illnesses