Senior Management

Emer Leahy, Ph.D., M.B.A., President and CEO

Dr. Emer Leahy received her Ph.D. in Neuropharmacology from University College Dublin, Ireland, and her MBA from Columbia University. She is CEO of PsychoGenics Inc., a profitable preclinical CNS service company, CEO of PGI Drug Discovery LLC, a company engaged in psychiatric drug discovery with three partnered Phase II clinical programs and Adjunct Associate Professor of Neuroscience at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Dr. Leahy has more than 25 years of experience in drug discovery, clinical develop and business development for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, including extensive knowledge of technology assessment, licensing, mergers and acquisitions, and strategic planning. Prior to her appointment as CEO of PsychoGenics, she was Vice President of Business Development, a position she also held at American Biogenetic Sciences and at AMBI Inc. Dr. Leahy served on the Emerging Companies Section Governing Board for the Board of Directors of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), and currently serves on the Board of Directors of Intensity Therapeutics, the Business Review Board for the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, and the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Rett Syndrome Foundation.

Cindy Hsu, J.D., General Counsel

Ms. Cindy Hsu has more than 10 years of experience in intellectual property, data privacy, and technology law. Prior to joining PsychoGenics, she was a senior counsel at Sterlington LP, where she managed the Intellectual Property and Outside General Counsel Groups. Ms. Hsu also served as Patent Counsel for The Coca-Cola Company and founded the children’s Mandarin learning site Little Chinese Readers. She is a member of the GA and US Patent Bars.

Ronald E.D. Christopher, BA, FCCA, CA(M), V.P., Finance

Mr. Ronald Christopher has over 30 years of experience in the finance field spanning various industry sectors including the Life Sciences sector. Ronald is a UK trained and qualified Accountant and has worked in and overseen businesses in the UK, Malaysia and Singapore including stints in the Corporate Recovery Division of a major Accounting firm. He has held various senior positions with responsibilities covering, amongst others, finance, accounting, risk management, corporate governance, process reviews, change management activities, project monitoring and purchasing.

Taleen Hanania, Ph.D., Sr. V.P., Behavioral Pharmacology

Dr. Hanania received her Ph.D. in Pharmacology at the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston. She completed her post doctoral training and was a faculty member of Department of Pharmacology at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. Dr. Hanania has extensive pharmacology and behavior experience in all neuropsychiatric areas and has been instrumental in establishing and validating many of PsychoGenics’ behavioral tests.

Sylvie Ramboz, Ph.D., V.P., Neurodegenerative Disorders

Dr. Sylvie Ramboz received her Ph.D. in Neuropharamacology at the Institute for Genetics and Cellular and Molecular Biology, Strasbourg, France. Dr. Ramboz has extensive experience in the biotechnology industry, first at Memory Pharmaceuticals, then at Xenogen Biosciences Corporation before joining PsychoGenics. While at Xenogen, she was responsible for creating and phenotyping more than 70 transgenic mouse models of CNS and sexual function disorders.

Afshin Ghavami, Ph.D., V.P., Research Operations

Dr. Ghavami joined PsychoGenics in 2007 and directs molecular biology and electrophysiology groups and has been extensively involved in drug discovery research. Dr. Ghavami obtained his Ph.D. in Neuroscience, from Universite de Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg, France, in conjugation with Columbia University. After receiving his Ph.D., he joined Memory Pharmaceuticals as Research Scientist. In May 2000, Afshin joined Wyeth’s CNS subdivision where he led, evaluated and set up assays for several drug discovery programs including PDE4, RGS, and various GPCR receptors.

Steven C. Leiser, Ph.D., Sr. Director Translational EEG

Dr. Leiser has over 10 years of experience in drug discovery and applying translatable neurophysiological biomarkers in diverse drug discovery projects across CNS disorders including schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, depression, epilepsy. An expert in in vivo electrophysiology, he has established procedures to evaluate multi-unit extracellular neuronal activity or electroencephalography (EEG) and auditory evoked potentials (AEPs), including the rodent correlate of human P300, MMN, and auditory gating (P50, N100) in awake freely-moving animals. Dr. Leiser is a specialist in sleep-wake pharmaco-EEG and quantitative EEG in rodent models of disease, including seizure disorders. He has been instrumental in developing translational EEG biomarkers to advance treatments to the clinic during his drug discovery career at Wyeth, AstraZeneca, Lundbeck, and Luc Therapeutics. Dr. Leiser did a postdoctoral fellowship at University of Pennsylvania/CHOP after receiving his Ph.D. in neuroscience from Drexel University College of Medicine.

Mukesh Bansal, Ph.D., V.P., Data Science

Dr. Mukesh Bansal obtained his Ph.D. in Systems biology from the University of Naples, Italy. He completed his postdoctoral training from Columbia University where he later joined as a research scientist to continue his work on identifying master regulators (MR) of various pathologies, developing methods for biomarker discovery and understanding mechanism of action of compounds. He has over 15 years of experience in various aspects of systems biology including network inference, biomarker discovery, patients’ specific disease checkpoints, and drug target identification, drug repurposing and predicting compound synergy. He authored over 40 research articles, many of them in the top tier journals including Cell, Science and Nature. He is also a co-inventor of many patents.

Alberto Ambesi-Impiombato, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Computational Biology

Dr. Ambesi received his M.D. degree and Residency in Psychiatry from the University of Naples, Italy. He completed his Ph.D. in Neuroscience investigating the transcriptional effects of psychoactive compounds in animal models of brain disease. He also received his Master’s degree in Bioinformatics from the University of Sannio, Italy, studying methods for high-throughput transcriptional data analysis. In 2007, he joined Columbia University as a post-doc, where he developed network-based computational approaches aimed at identifying key drivers of initiation and progression of cancer, as well as mechanisms of therapeutic response and drug resistance. As an Associated Research Scientist at Columbia University, Dr. Ambesi developed machine learning approaches for the molecular classification of patient samples aimed at individually tailoring treatments in a personalized medicine approach. Overall, he has over 15 years of experience in developing and implementing Systems Biology approaches to data analysis, including genomic, genetic, epigenetic, and transcriptional datasets.

Mitchell Silverstein, B.A., A.A.S., V.P., Facilities and Operations

Mitch Silverstein has over 35 years experience in the biotechnology industry including over 12 years as a genetics laboratory supervisor with companies such as Lifecodes Corporation and Genzyme Genetics. Subsequently Mr. Silverstein has concentrated on laboratory and facility operations for a variety of research organizations including Cadus Pharmaceuticals, OSI Pharmaceuticals and Regeneron. He has been with PsychoGenics since 2004 where he has managed various laboratory facility construction projects. Currently he combines his extensive knowledge into many disciplines of PsychoGenics’ operations. Mr Silverstein has a BA Psychology and AAS Biology.

Christina Leahy, M.S., V.P., Quality Assurance and Vivarium Operations

Ms. Christina Leahy has more than 20 years of laboratory experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, including extensive knowledge of AAALAC and IACUC procedures and Federal regulatory and compliancy requirements. Prior to joining PsychoGenics, Ms. Leahy served as Quality Assurance Auditor for Ciba-Geigy (now Novartis) GLP toxicology lab. At Bristol-Myers Squibb, she worked on in vivo testing for CNS drug discovery.


  • PsychoGenics
  • 215 College Road, Paramus, NJ 07652
  • Tel: (914) 406-8000
  • Fax: (914) 406-8090