Dr. Richard Lane Selected as Fulbright Scholar

Aug. 4, 2022

Richard D. Lane, MD, PhD, professor of psychiatry at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson has been selected as a Fulbright U.S. Scholar and named the 2023 Fulbright-Freud Lecturer of Psychoanalysis at the Sigmund Freud Foundation in Vienna, Austria.

Richard D. Lane, MD, PhD

Richard D. Lane, MD, PhD

Fulbright Scholar Awards are prestigious and competitive fellowships that provide unique opportunities for college and university faculty, administrators, researchers, artists and professionals to serve as academic ambassadors by teaching and conducting research abroad. 

Dr. Lane, who also has faculty appointments in the departments of psychology and neuroscience in the College of Science, will spend four months in Vienna beginning March 2023. He will teach a 12-week course called “Memory, Emotion and the Neuroscience of Enduring Change: Implications for Psychoanalysis,” and will conduct research with trainees and faculty in the Department of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy at the Medical University of Vienna, where he will be a visiting professor.

“The neuroscience of the 1890s and early 1900s was not sufficiently advanced for the task, so Freud created psychological models instead,” Dr. Lane said. “But he always hoped that someday the neurobiological origin of emotional disturbances and their treatment would be understood. A century later, we know enough about psychotherapy and how it works that we can begin to draw on increasing neurobiological knowledge – particularly in regard to memory, emotion and their interactions during development – to begin to create the neurobiological foundation that Freud dreamt of. The opportunity to present this new perspective, in honor of Freud at the birthplace of psychoanalysis, is a kind of a dream come true for me.”

Dr. Lane’s project integrates his clinical experience as a psychiatrist and psychotherapist with his systems neuroscience research background to examine the neurobiological mechanisms of change in psychotherapy – a perspective originally published with University of Arizona collaborators Lee Ryan, PhD, head of the College of Science’s Department of Psychology, and Lynn Nadel, PhD, Regents Professor emeritus of psychology. His research will focus on memory reconsolidation, or memory updating, a phenomenon originally discovered by Freud and called “memory retranscription” at the time. The research will be conducted in collaboration with investigators executing multi-center trials in Europe examining the effectiveness of psychoanalysis and emotion-focused psychotherapy.

“The teaching and research that Dr. Lane proposes to do is at the cutting edge of neuro-psychoanalysis and could be the start of a major new program of research on the indications for and the mechanisms of action and efficacy of high frequency psychoanalysis,” wrote Mark Solms, PhD, director of neuropsychology at the University of Cape Town’s Neuroscience Institute, in his letter of recommendation to the Fulbright selection committee. “As such, it could help psychoanalysis meet the empirical standards that are needed to thrive in the current climate.”

“We are thrilled for Dr. Lane to receive this well-deserved honor,” said Jordan Karp, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry in the College of Medicine – Tucson. “We are proud that he has this amazing opportunity to expand his research and advance the empirical foundation of psychoanalysis into a new era.”

The Fulbright Scholar program awards more than 1,700 fellowships each year, enabling 800 U.S. scholars to go abroad to more than 135 countries and 900 visiting Scholars to come to the U.S. Alumni include 61 Nobel Laureates, 89 Pulitzer Prize winners, 76 MacArthur Fellows, and leaders in academia and across the private, public and nonprofit sectors.