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Jair C. Soares, MD, PhD

Dr. Jair C. Soares

Vice President, Behavioral Sciences, UTHealth Houston
Dean, UTHealth Houston School of Behavioral Health Sciences
Executive Director, UTHealth Houston Behavioral Sciences Campus


Jair C. Soares, MD, PhD, is vice president of behavioral sciences at UTHealth Houston. In February 2024, he was named the founding dean of the university's seventh school, UTHealth Houston School of Behavioral Health Sciences. Soares is professor and chair of the Louis A. Faillace, MD, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston, as well as executive director of the UTHealth Houston Behavioral Sciences Campus. A board-certified psychiatrist, he also serves as chief of Psychiatry Services at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center and Harris Health Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital. The sites provide patient care and serve as clinical training facilities for UTHealth Houston medical students, psychiatry residents, and psychiatry fellows.

Committed to building a true continuum of care for patients with behavioral disorders, Soares was instrumental in securing both philanthropic support from the John S. Dunn Foundation and operations funding from the State of Texas for this first public psychiatric hospital to be built in the state in 25 years. The new building, carrying the name of the John S. Dunn Behavioral Sciences Center, together with UTHealth Houston Harris County Psychiatric Center, comprise the largest academic psychiatric center in the U.S.

Soares, the Pat R. Rutherford, Jr. Chair in Psychiatry at McGovern Medical School, directs the Center of Excellence on Mood Disorders, which focuses on the search for the causes of and the development of new treatments for mood disorders. The center is composed of an active research team specializing in clinical neurosciences (neuroimaging, neurophysiology, cognitive neurosciences, and genetics), as well as clinical psychopharmacology and interventions research.

After receiving his medical degree from the University of São Paulo in Brazil in 1990, Soares accepted a psychiatric residency in adult psychiatry at the University of São Paulo and a research track residency in general psychiatry at the Western Psychiatric Hospital at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Subsequently, Soares received a brain imaging fellowship with the Yale University School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry. He obtained a PhD in medical sciences at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil.

Prior to joining UTHealth Houston in 2009, Soares served as the Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and director of the Center of Excellence in Research and Treatment for Bipolar Disorders at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and as deputy chair for research and division chief for mood and anxiety disorders with the Department of Psychiatry at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Soares has received numerous honors and awards, including the National Plaque of Honor from the Republic of Panama, the Devereux Clinic Emy Award, and the Harris Health Presidential Award. He currently serves as president for the International Society for Affective Disorders, president for the American Association of Chairs of Departments of Psychiatry, and vice president for the National Network of Depression Centers. Soares has published more than 350 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters in the psychiatric literature and has held editorial positions on a number of national and international medical journals. He is also the co-editor in chief for the Journal of Affective Disorders and the Journal of Affective Disorders Reports.

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