Contact Information

T: (619) 543-3422
F: (619) 543-5732


Dr. Minassian received her doctorate from the California School of Professional Psychology-San Diego. She completed her predoctoral internship in the UCSD Psychology Internship Training Program and continued at UCSD as a post-doctoral fellow in the NIMH Fellowship in Biological Psychiatry and Neuroscience. She joined the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry as an Assistant Project Scientist in July of 2004 and is currently a Clinical Professor. Her research laboratory is located on the inpatient Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Medicine Service at the UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest. She also serves a faculty psychologist at the Medical Center and a clinical supervisor in the Psychology Internship Training Program.

Research Interests

Research Focus

Dr. Minassian’s research program is focused upon understanding the relationship between biology and behavior in mental illness, medical illness, and substance abuse. Much of her research has implemented physiological and cognitive paradigms to understand brain dysfunction in psychiatric populations such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, PTSD, and substance addiction as well as neuromedical conditions such as HIV. The methodologies she has helped develop and implement can be translated to animals, an application which accelerates our understanding of biological mechanisms. She serves as Project Director in UCSD’s Translational Methamphetamine AIDS Research Center (TMARC) where she and her colleagues are studying decision making in HIV, methamphetamine dependence, and aging in humans and in rodent models. She is also a co-investigator on a number of NIH-funded studies of inhibitory and cognitive deficits in bipolar disorder. Dr. Minassian is a clinical psychologist and an attending clinician in the UCSD Health Systems. Her clinical area of expertise is consultation-liaison and she works with medically ill patients on the Burn Service, in the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program, as well as with individuals with chronic pain and those awaiting organ transplantation. Furthermore she conducts clinical research with an interdisciplinary group of academicians outside the department of Psychiatry (e.g., Bariatric Surgery, Burn Surgery and Emergency Medicine). She is a member of the department’s Diversity Committee and also serves on university- and hospital-wide diversity focus groups.


  • Minassian A, Perry W, Carlson M, Pelham M, DeFilippis N. The Category Test Perseverations, Loss of Set, and Memory Scales: Three new scales and their relationship to executive functioning measures. Assessment 2003; 10: 213-221.
  • Minassian A, Paulus MP, Perry W. Increased sensitivity to error during decision-making in Bipolar Disorder patients with acute mania. J Affective Disorders 2004; 82: 203-208.
  • Minassian A, Granholm E, Verney S, Perry W. Visual scanning deficits in schizophrenia and their relationship to executive functioning impairment. Schizophrenia Research 2005; 74: 69-79.
  • Minassian, A., Paulus, M., Lincoln, A., & Perry, W. Adults with Autism show increased sensitivity to outcomes at low error rates during decision making. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 2007; 37 (7): 1279-1288.
  • Perry, W., Minassian, A., Paulus, M.P., Young, J.W., Kincaid, M.J., Ferguson, E.J., Henry, B.L., Zhuang, X., Masten, V.L. Sharp, R.F., & Geyer, M.A. A reverse translational study of dysfunctional exploration in psychiatric disorders: from mice to men. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2009; 66 (10): 1072-1080. PMC2897252
  • Minassian, A., Henry, B.L., Geyer, M.A., Paulus, M.P., Young, J.W., & Perry, W. The quantitative assessment of motor activity in mania and schizophrenia. Journal of Affective Disorders 2010; 120: 200- 206. PMC2795051
  • Perry, W., Minassian, A., Henry, B, Kincaid, M, Young, JW, Geyer, MA. Quantifying over-activity in bipolar and schizophrenia patients in a human open field paradigm. Psychiatry Research 2010; 178 (1), 84-91. PMC2914139
  • Henry, B.L., Minassian, A., van Rhenen, M., Young, J.W., Geyer, M.A., Perry, W., & Translational Methamphetamine AIDS Research Center (TMARC). Effect of methamphetamine dependence on inhibitory deficits in a novel human open field paradigm. Psychopharmacology 2011; 215 (4), 697-707. PMC3102201
  • Crean, R.D., Tapert, S.F., Minassian, A., MacDonald, K., Crane, N.A., & Mason, B.J. Effects of chronic,heavy cannabis use on executive functions. Journal of Addiction Medicine 2011; 5: 9-15. PMC3106308.
  • Minassian, A., Henry, B.L., Young, J.W., Masten, V., Geyer, M.A., & Perry, W. Repeated assessment of exploration and novelty seeking in the human Behavioral Pattern Monitor in bipolar disorder patients and healthy individuals. PLoS One 2011; 6(8), e24185. PMC3166173
  • Henry, B.L., Minassian, A., & Perry, W. Effect of methamphetamine dependence on heart rate variability. Addiction Biology 2012; 17(3): 648-658. PMC3117088
  • Henry, B.L., Geyer, M.A., Buell, M.R., Perry, W., Young, J.W., Minassian, A., & Translational Methamphetamine AIDS Research Center (TMARC). Behavioral effects of chronic methamphetamine treatment in HIV-1 gp120 transgenic mice. Behavioural Brain Research 2013; 236(1): 210-220. PMC348228
  • Minassian, A., Henry, B.L., Woods, S.P., Vaida, F., Grant, I., Geyer, M.A., Perry, W., & Translational Methamphetamine AIDS Research Center (TMARC). Prepulse inhibition in HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders. Journal of the International Neuropsychology Society 2013; 19: 1-9. PMC3729041
  • Minassian. A., Vilke, G.M., & Wilson, M.P. Frequent ED visits are more prevalent in psychiatric, alcohol abuse, and dual diagnosis conditions than in chronic viral illnesses such as Hepatitis and HIV. Journal of Emergency Medicine 2013; 45(4): 520-525.
  • Minassian, A., Geyer, M.A., Baker, D.G., Nievergelt, C.M., O’Connor, D.T., & Risbrough, V.B. Heart rate variability characteristics in a large group of active-duty Marines and relationship to posttraumatic stress. Psychosomatic Medicine 2014; 76:292-301. PMC- in process.