Alaptagin Khan, MBBS, FRSPH
Research Associate, Developmental Biopsychiatry Research Program
- Instructor in Psychiatry
Alaptagin Khan, MBBS, FRSPH, is a research associate at McLean Hospital and an instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. After graduating from medical school, Dr. Khan took the opportunity to work with the Red Cross and UNICEF in conflict zones where he developed an interest in PTSD and the neurobiology of traumatic stress. That interest brought him to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in 2010 where he studied the effects of environmental toxins on brain development as a joint post-doctoral fellow at the Departments of Psychiatry and Medicine, with Dr. Elizabeth Sajdel-Sulkowska and Dr. Ann Marie Zavacki.
After gaining experience in basic neuroscience, in 2012, Dr. Khan joined McLean’s Developmental Biopsychiatry Research Program, led by Martin H. Teicher, MD, PhD, to focus on the neurobiology of trauma and adversity. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health and holds visiting faculty appointments at Shifa International Hospital, Islamabad, and Lady Reading Hospital, Peshawar, Pakistan.
At McLean Hospital, Dr. Khan’s work primarily revolves around developmental trauma, depression, and complex PTSD.
In particular, his research focuses on identifying developmental sensitive periods where exposure to childhood adversity has greatest impact on risk for developing major depression, suicidal ideation, PTSD, personality disorders, and substance use disorders. This presence of sensitive exposure periods may lead to a more precise clinical and neurobiological understanding of susceptibility and resilience and can help define times when interventions can have the most potent effects.
Dr. Khan’s work combines clinical epidemiology, psychometrics, and advanced machine learning techniques to identify and delineate these sensitive periods of maximum vulnerability.
In addition to psychiatric epidemiology, Dr. Khan also has a deep interest in global mental health and leads McLean Hospital’s global outreach efforts in Pakistan. He is affiliated with several psychiatric hospitals, NGOs and iNGOs in Pakistan and provides technical assistance on development and implementation of psychosocial support measures and capacity building initiatives for the mental health workforce.
As the research director of the country’s first Childhood Trauma Research Center at Lady Reading Hospital, Peshawar, Dr. Khan oversees a team of psychiatrists and psychologists who are providing services to victims of childhood abuse and collecting epidemiological and genetic data. Currently, Dr. Khan is working closely with the Pakistan Psychiatric Society and leading academic institutions in Pakistan to collectively develop initiatives and guidelines for addressing the vast mental health treatment gap seen in Pakistan and similar low- and middle-income countries.
Education & Training
- 2002 BA in Philosophy, Psychology, Peshawar University
- 2009 MBBS, Khyber Medical University
- 2010-2012 Research Fellowship in Brain Repair and Neuromodulation, Department of Psychiatry, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
- 2010-2012 Research Fellowship in Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
- 2012-2013 Fellowship in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute
- 2017-2018 Fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy, Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis