Luca Lavagnino, MD, PhD, is an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and attending physician at UTHealth Harris County Psychiatric Center (HCPC). He received his MD and PhD in psychiatry and neuroscience from the University of Turn in Turin, Italy. He also completed his psychiatry residency there before joining the Mind, Brain and Neuroimaging Unit of the Institute of Mental Health Research at University of Ottawa as a postdoctoral fellow. Afterwards, Lavagnino joined the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at UTHealth for a postdoctoral research fellowship.

Lavagnino has focused his recent research and clinical activity on eating disorders and obesity, with particular emphasis on the neuroendocrine and neuroimaging correlates of eating behavior and overweight. During his residency training at the University of Turin, he became aware of a relevant unmet need for clinical interventions for obese patients with binge eating disorder (BED). This has led him to direct his research efforts toward the treatment of BED and care for obese patients with psychiatric diagnoses with pharmacological and psychological interventions. He is also interested by how brain structure and function affect mental life. Other interests include concepts and history of psychiatry and how the humanities can contribute to a deeper understanding of mental health and mental illness.


Doctoral Degree
Psychiatry and Neuroscience, University of Turin, Italy
Medical Degree
University of Turin, Italy
Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology, University of Turin, Italy
Postdoctoral Research Fellowship
Mind, Brain and Neuroimaging Unit of the Institute of Mental Health Research, University of Ottawa, Canada

Areas of Interest

Clinical Interests

  • Adult General Psychiatry
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Depression
  • Eating Disorders

Research Interests

  • Mood Disorders
  • Neuroendocrinology
  • Neuroimaging
  • Psychopharmacology