Anantha Shekhar, MD, PhD

  • Senior Vice Chancellor for the Health Sciences
  • John and Gertrude Petersen Dean, School of Medicine
  • Professor of Psychiatry
  • Professor of Clinical and Translational Science
  • University of Pittsburgh

Since coming to the University of Pittsburgh in 2020 as senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and John and Gertrude Petersen Dean of the School of Medicine, Anantha Shekhar, MD, PhD, has emphasized excellence in education, biomedical research, translation and innovation, clinical care, equity and inclusion, and community engagement. He is a nationally recognized educator, researcher and entrepreneur with major contributions in medicine and life sciences.

At Pitt, Dr. Shekhar leads all six health sciences schools that, for more than a century, have been educational and research leaders in their respective fields, propelling scientific discovery and clinical innovation that advance human health. Education at the schools of the health sciences—Dental Medicine, Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Public Health—emphasizes interdisciplinary instruction and leadership that incorporates the most advanced techniques and technologies to prepare future researchers, physicians and health care providers and administrators for careers of leadership and service.

Dr. Shekhar’s responsibilities include shaping the careers of more than 6,200 faculty and staff members, as well as the academic success of approximately 5,600 students annually, all while supporting Pitt’s position as a top-ranked recipient of National Institutes of Health (NIH) research dollars. He also works closely with UPMC, a $24 billion world-renowned health care provider and insurer, to ensure that health care delivery, biomedical research and education—already among the nation’s elite—continue to flourish.

Innovation, transformation and successful collaborations across the private, public and philanthropic sectors have defined Dr. Shekhar’s distinguished career. His work focuses on the role of brain abnormalities that could lead to stress and psychiatric disorders. A number of grants from NIH, private foundations and commercial collaborations have supported his research; overall, he has coauthored more than 200 original scientific papers published in leading basic science and clinical journals.

Dr. Shekhar’s areas of expertise include basic and clinical research on the effects of stress, stress-induced psychiatric disorders and clinical psychopharmacology. His laboratory has developed several translational models for psychiatric disorders and identified novel targets for neuropsychiatric disorder treatments in commercial development. He is also founder of a number of biotech companies developing novel therapies.

Dr. Shekhar is an elected member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Forum on Drug Discovery, Development, and Translation. Dr. Shekhar, who was born in India, earned his medical degree at St. John’s Medical College, Bangalore, and PhD in neuroscience at Indiana University.