Skip to main content

David_PennWelcome to the Penn Lab website!

I am a Research Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, and Director of Psychological Services at Early Psychosis Interventions in North Carolina (EPI-NC) at UNC Chapel Hill. I have been at UNC since 1999.

Previously, I was on the faculty at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and LSU. I received my Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, under the mentorship of Will Spaulding, Ph.D., and completed my internship at the Medical College of Pennsylvania, at the Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute, under the mentorship of Kim Mueser, Ph.D.

Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Personally, I was born in Brooklyn, NY and raised in Great Neck LI.  My mother and younger brother still live in Great Neck.  My wife, Leah, is from Madison, WI.  We live in Durham and enjoy travel, restaurants, good films, and living in this area.

My primary research interests are in two areas: Social cognition and psychosocial treatment for schizophrenia. In regard to social cognition, I am interested in how social cognition (i.e., emotion perception, attributional style, and theory of mind) changes across the course of schizophrenia (e.g., prior to illness onset, prodromal, first episode, and chronic), its neural basis, and how social cognition relates to social functioning.

Over the past few years, my research has had a particular emphasis on psychosocial treatment for schizophrenia.  Specifically, we have conducted studies examining individual CBT for schizophrenia, group CBT for individuals with medication-resistant auditory hallucinations, illness management and recovery, CBT for first episode psychosis, and Social Cognition and Interaction Training (SCIT) (for both schizophrenia and high functioning autism). We have recently completed a randomized controlled trial of Integrated Coping Awareness Therapy (ICAT) for first episode psychosis. ICAT is a manualized treatment focuses on mindfulness and strengths.  We are currently conducting a randomized controlled trial of Physical Activity can Enhance Life (PACE-Life), a group-based walking intervention for schizophrenia.  Finally, we are in the midst of a series of studies and papers under the Black Americans in Schizophrenia Study (BASS) research program.  To read more about these studies, please refer to the “Recently Completed and Current Studies” tab from the menu above.

If you are interested in being a member of my lab, you can find more information about our lab and the application process under the “Prospective Students” tabs from the main menu (above). Please note that students from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in psychology and/or academia are particularly encouraged to apply.

To Trainees of Color:

Please see this letter, written in response to a statement by graduate students of color in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at UNC Chapel Hill (July 1, 2020).