Two Long-Time Faculty Members Retire from Department

By Susan Gallagher

Two of our long-time faculty members retired from the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences this year.

Lana Watkins, PhD, and Laura Weisberg, PhD, have advanced our field in a number of notable ways and their clinical work, research and engagement with our education programs have impacted many people. We are incredibly thankful for their service at Duke and wish them all the very best in their next chapter!

Below are just a few highlights from their careers.

Lana Watkins, PhD
Professor Emeritus in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Division of Behavioral Medicine & Neurosciences

Retired in January 2023 after 25 years of service

Dr. Lana Watkins began her career as an assistant professor at Duke in 1997 after completing her PhD at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and postdoctoral fellowships at the University of California at San Diego, Harvard University, and Duke University Medical Center. She reached the rank of professor in 2019. 

Watkins’ research examined the relationship between affective disorders and autonomic cardiovascular control, the mechanisms underlying the increased cardiac mortality associated with anxiety disorders, and the role of behavioral factors as modulators of glycemic control and in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy. Over the course of her career, she co-authored nearly 100 publications, often with close collaborators Andrew Sherwood, PhD, and James Blumenthal, PhD, both professors in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke.

Watkins served as an editorial board member of Psychosomatic Medicine for 15 years and consulted on several pharmaceutical contracts throughout her time at Duke.

Laura Weisberg, PhD
Associate Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Division of Child & Family Mental Health & Community Psychiatry

Retired in January 2023 after 20 years of service

In 2003, Dr. Laura Weisberg arrived at Duke as an assistant professor and training director for the Duke Center for Eating Disorders (DCED); in 2008 she also took on the role of DCED clinical director and served in both capacities until 2012. Prior to coming to Duke, Weisberg received her PhD in clinical psychology at the University of Maryland and held several positions at hospitals and universities in the Boston area, including clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School. 

Weisberg’s role at Duke was primarily clinical; she worked with adolescents and adults and her clinical practice included individual, group, family, and couples psychotherapies and parent training. Her interests focused on psychotherapy integration in the treatment of eating disorders, the interface between trauma and eating disorders, and how somatically oriented psychotherapies may help in the treatment of eating disorders.

Weisberg mentored many junior faculty members and trainees and served as a supervisor to clinical psychology interns, residents, and psychology graduate students at the DCED for many years. She also delivered numerous educational programs and invited lectures and presentations at Duke, across the country, and internationally.