Rebecca Brachman is a neuroscientist, TED Fellow, and NYCEDC Entrepreneurship Lab Fellow pioneering the field of preventative psychopharmacology. She and her colleagues aim to create drugs which enhance psychological resilience against stress and prevent mental illness.
Within this new field of preventative psychopharmacology, Brachman is working on several projects: a biotech startup for the commercial development of prophylactic drugs (“paravaccines”); a social impact/non-profit venture to repurpose existing generic drugs for use as prophylactics; and ongoing academic research at Columbia University with her co-founder Dr. Christine Ann Denny.
This work is based on her discovery that we can make paravaccines that protect individuals against depression and PTSD. This is a paradigm-shifting approach. Current treatments for mood disorders only suppress symptoms; they do not address the underlying disease. There are no known cures. These treatments would be the first preventative interventions against mental illness.
Brachman also directs N2, a NeuWrite workshop. NeuWrite is a national network of science-writing groups that brings together scientists and writers to develop science communicators from all backgrounds that can convey the complexities of science in a narratively compelling and scientifically accurate manner.
Rebecca Brachman completed her PhD at Columbia University in laboratory of Dr. René Hen, a world expert on SSRI antidepressants and the hippocampus. Prior to that, she was a fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIH), where she studied neuroimmunology and the stress response in the laboratory of Dr. Miles Herkenham. She obtained her bachelor's degrees from Oberlin College in Neuroscience and Creative Writing. She has previously worked in editorial, accounts, and finance at Prime Medica (a medical communications company), and served as the Interim Program Director for Outreach at the Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute (Columbia University).