Dr. Pearlson completed medical school in the United Kingdom and a graduate program in philosophy of mind/philosophy of science at Columbia University. He was subsequently at Johns Hopkins Hospital as a resident, postdoctoral fellow, and ultimately Professor in the Department of psychiatry, with Dr. Paul McHugh. While at Hopkins he was the founding director of the Division of Psychiatry Neuroimaging. Dr. Pearlson moved to Connecticut in 2000, as the founding director of the Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center. He is the holder of a MERIT award from NIMH, received a Distinguished Investigator award from NARSAD, the Ziskin-Somerfeld Award by the Society of Biological Psychiatry and a Michael Visiting Professorship by the Weizmann Institute. He is on NARSADâ€™s Scientific Council, on the Institute of Scientific Informationâ€™s Most Highly Cited Publications list and was a Frontiers of Science Lecturer, at the 2004 Annual APA Meeting. Five of his prior trainees are currently full professors and direct their own laboratories.
Dr. Pearlson directs several complementary programs of research. One is the COBBRA lab, which in two NIMH-funded RO1 grants, investigates effects of schizophrenia risk alleles on cognitive function and associated structural brain patterns, DTI connectivity and functional MRI BOLD activation. Additional projects include an NIDA-funded RO1 grant to examine the concept of impulsivity using functional MRI BOLD activation in the context of current or past cocaine use, and a NIAAA-funded RO1 project to assess the effects of alcohol intoxication on in-scanner brain activation patterns generated during simulated driving, (using a paradigm designed by Dr. Asturâ€™s VR lab). Dr. Pearlson is also part of Dr. John Krystalâ€™s NIAAA Center for the Translational Neuroscience of Alcoholism, with a project examining functional MRI response to reward tasks in sons and daughters of fathers with alcoholism.