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Akira Sawa is a psychiatrist and neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins University and Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. He graduated from University of Tokyo and received his M.D. degree in 1990. He completed clinical training in psychiatry and research training in molecular neuroscience under Dr. 

Solomon H. Snyder at Johns Hopkins University. 

Subsequently, Akira Sawa started his career as an independent faculty 

investigator at Johns Hopkins in 2002. Since 2012, he has served as the director and endowed chair of the Johns Hopkins Schizophrenia Center. This center focuses on patient care, research, education, and public outreach for psychotic disorders and severe mental disorders. In 2020, he becomes the first director of a new multi-disciplinary and multi-departmental initiative named Johns Hopkins iMIND (Institute for Mental Innovation and NeuroDiscovery).


Based on Akira Sawa’s training in both clinical psychiatry and basic molecular neuroscience, he leads Johns Hopkins iMIND to address mechanistic questions for major mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, mood disorders, and Alzheimer’s disease, with a particular emphasis on early detection and early intervention of these pathological conditions. The study coalition associated with Johns Hopkins iMIND consists of a wider range of 

multidisciplinary investigators specializing in clinical psychiatry, molecular neuroscience, data and computational science, and genetics. The research group, with his own laboratory, is funded by multiple sources, including the grant from NIH [e.g., P50 Silvo O. Conte Center grant from National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)], non-profit foundations, and industrial partners. 

Akira Sawa and his own laboratory are pursuing critical mediators that define the progression of major mental illnesses. 


He has accepted graduate students from the programs of Neuroscience, 

Cellular Molecular Medicine (CMM), Biomedical Engineering (BME), and Genetic Medicine.  

Akira Sawa, MD, PhD
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