Arpi Minassian
Contact Information:
3350 La Jolla Village Drive
San Diego, CA 92161-116A


Arpi Minassian, Ph.D., is a research investigator in CESAMH’s Neuroscience Research Unit. Her work within CESAMH is focused upon the relationship between the body’s stress response system and risk and resilience to trauma-related conditions such as PTSD.  She provides scientific support to CESAMH investigators on the collection and analysis of measures such as heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV), which are informative about how the body responds to and recovers from stress.  In collaboration with the investigators in the Neuroscience Unit, she is assisting in developing new methods for accruing and analyzing physiological data.

Dr. Minassian received her doctorate from the California School of Professional Psychology-San Diego. She completed her pre-doctoral internship in the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Psychology Internship Training Program and continued at UCSD as a post-doctoral fellow in the NIMH Fellowship in Biological Psychiatry and Neuroscience. She joined the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry as an Assistant Project Scientist in July of 2004 and is currently a Clinical Professor at UCSD. She also serves as a faculty psychologist at the UCSD Medical Center and a clinical supervisor in the Psychology Internship Training Program.

Research Interests

Dr. Minassian’s primary research interests include understanding the relationship between biology and behavior in mental illness, medical illness, and substance abuse. Much of her research has implemented physiological and cognitive paradigms to understand brain dysfunction in psychiatric populations such as PTSD as well as substance addiction and neuromedical conditions such as HIV. The methodologies she has helped develop and implement have been translated to animals as well; an application that accelerates our understanding of biological mechanisms. She serves as Project Director in UCSD’s Translational Methamphetamine AIDS Research Center (TMARC) where she and her colleagues are studying decision-making in HIV, methamphetamine dependence, and aging in humans and in rodent models. She is also a co-investigator on a number of NIH-funded studies of inhibitory and cognitive deficits in bipolar disorder.

Dr. Minassian’s clinical work is primarily focused upon consultation-liaison and therapeutic interventions with hospitalized medically ill patients. She is the faculty psychologist at the UCSD Regional Burn Center, where her duties include psychological assessment, pain management, and psychotherapy, as well as psychiatric consultation-liaison for burned adults and children. She supervises psychology trainees at the Burn Center and at other rotations on the Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Medicine Service.

To participate in current research studies, please visit VASDHS and  VMRF.

Selected Publications