The Center has advanced many research initiatives related to the improved detection of and treatment for suicide.
Maura Boldrini, MD, PhD
Dr. Boldrini is an associate professor of psychiatry and director of the Human Neurobiology Laboratory and the Quantitative Human Brain Biology Institute (Brain QUANT) at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and New York State Psychiatric Institute. She is also a research scientist at Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene and attending psychiatrist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. She is interested in understanding how the brain is capable of coping with severe stress through responses than confer resilience versus vulnerability to psychiatric illness. Her lab has been investigating mechanisms by which antidepressants help the human brain to regenerate, which is one of the ways our brain copes with physiological and environmental stressors. They have also shown that we make new neurons into our eighth decade of life (Boldrini, et al. Cell Stem Cell, 2018), and brain growth and rewiring appear enhanced in resilient individuals who successfully coped with early life trauma, compared to depressed suicide subjects (Boldrini, et al. Biological Psychiatry, 2019). Her lab further identified a molecule involved in the formation of neuron connections, which is altered in depressed women exposed to recent life stress and related to maladaptive fear responses in mice (Besnard, et al., Cell Reports, 2018). Her lab also demonstrated that the hippocampus, a brain area important for memory, is smaller in subjects with current, but not past, depression (Calati, et al.Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology, 2019), suggesting that brain changes associated with depression are reversible.
1. Hippocampal Circuit Plasticity in Human Normal Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease
Grant: R56 AG063372
Role: Principal Investigator
Description: This project aims to study the growth of new neurons, examine how stem cells separate off into other types of cells, and measure connectivity and blood vessel health in normally aging individuals compared to Alzheimer’s Disease.
2. Brain Proteomics to Understand Suicidal Behavior Biosignatures
Grant: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (Standard Research Grant)
Role: Principal Investigator
Description: This study uses proteomics to compare the brains of people with major depression who died either by suicide or from other causes with non-psychiatric controls. This study focuses particularly on the anterior dentate gyrus, a brain area associated with suicide, and its main goal is to identify biomarkers and treatment targets for the reduction of suicide.
3. Antecedents of Suicidal Behavior Related Neurobiology
Grant: P50 MH090964
Role: Co-Investigator (Principal Investigator: J. John Mann, MD)
Description: This Conte Center project aims to study the neural circuitry and molecular detail of abnormal stress responses in suicide and nonfatal suicidal behavior, emphasizing potential etiological and pathogenic roles of the inflammasome, HPA axis, and BDNF.
Boldrini, M., Galfalvy, H., Dwork, A. J., Rosoklija, G. B., Trencevska-Ivanovska, I., Pavlovski, G., Hen, R., Arango, V., & Mann, J. J. (2019). Resilience is associated with larger dentate gyrus, while suicide decedents with major depressive disorder have fewer granule neurons. Biological Psychiatry, 85(10), 850-862.
Besnard, A., Langberg, T., Levinson, S., Chu, D., Vicidomini, C., Scobie, K. N., Dwork, A. J., Arango, V., Rosoklija, G. B., Mann, J. J., Hen, R., Leonardo, E. D., Boldrini, M., & Sahay, A. (2018). Targeting kruppel-like factor 9 in excitatory neurons protects against chronic stress-induced impairments in dendritic spines and fear responses. Cell Reports, 23(11), 3183-3196.
Boldrini, M., Fulmore, C. A., Tartt, A. N., Simeon, L. R., Pavlova, I., Poposka, V., Rosoklija, G. B., Stankov, A., Arango, V., Dwork, A. J., Hen, R., & Mann, J. J. (2018). Human hippocampal neurogenesis persists throughout aging. Cell Stem Cell, 22(4), 589-599.e5.
Office Address: 1051 Riverside Drive, Unit 42, New York, NY 10032
Barbara Stanley, PhD
Dr. Stanley is a professor of medical psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University and director of the Suicide Prevention Training, Implementation, and Evaluation program in the Center for Practice Innovations at New York State Psychiatric Institute. She is also a research scientist in the Division of Molecular Imaging and Neuropathology at NYSPI. She received her PhD from New York University and completed her clinical training at Bellevue Hospital in New York City and Long Island Jewish-Hillside Hospital in Queens, New York. Her research has been continually funded by the National Institute of Health for over 25 years and focuses on several aspects of suicidal behavior, non-suicidal self-injury, and borderline personality disorder, including assessment and intervention, clinical factors, and neurobiological influences on suicidal behavior and self-injury, and implementation of suicide prevention strategies in clinical settings. Dr. Stanley also oversees the development of suicide prevention training for clinicians throughout New York state. She is a co-developer of the Safety Planning Intervention (Stanley-Brown Safety Plan) that is used throughout the United States and internationally and an author of the internationally used Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale. She is on the advisory board of the Jed Foundation and the Scientific Advisory Board of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and has authored more than 250 articles as well as edited and co-written several books. She has received several awards for her research and leadership in the field including the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention research award.
1. Zero Suicide Implementation and Evaluation in Outpatient Mental Health Clinics
Grant: R01 MH112139
Role: Principal Investigator
Description: The Zero Suicide (ZS) model is a multi-component (including assessment, intervention, and continuity of care), system-wide approach based on the assumption that suicide within the health care system is preventable. In this project, we propose to conduct a large-scale implementation and evaluation of the ZS model in outpatient behavioral health, implementing ZS strategies in 145 clinics in New York state serving >80,000 behavioral health clients.
2. Neurobiological Underpinnings of Two Suicidal Subtypes
Grant: R01 MH109326
Role: Multiple Principal Investigator (with Maria Oquendo, MD, PhD)
Description: This project aims to prospectively measure neurobiological, cognitive, and clinical risk factors and test a model showing 2 distinct subtypes of Suicidal Behavior through suicidal ideation that is either variable and reactive to stressors or sustained over time.
Stanley, B., Brown, G. K., Brenner, L. A., Galfalvy, H. C., Currier, G. W., Knox, K. L., Chaudhury, S. R., Bush, A. L., & Green, K. L. (2018). Comparison of the safety planning intervention with follow-up vs usual care of suicidal patients treated in the emergency department. JAMA Psychiatry, 75(9), 894-900.
Oquendo, M. A., Galfalvy, H. C., Choo, T. H., Kandlur, R., Burke, A. K., Sublette, M. E., Miller, J. M., Mann, J. J., & Stanley, B., (2020). Highly variable suicidal ideation: a phenotypic marker for stress induced suicide risk. Molecular Psychiatry, 10.1038/s41380-020-0819-0.
Stanley, B. & Mann, J. J. (2020). The need for innovation in health care systems to improve suicide prevention. JAMA Psychiatry, 77(1), 96-98.
Office Address: 1051 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10032