Research Areas

Basic Neuroscience (Cell and Animal Systems)

Led by Dr. René Hen and Dr. Jay Gingrich, this research will focus on

  • What is the cascade of genetic, molecular, and cellular abnormalities that lead to the brain circuit abnormalities associated with depression? What can stop or reverse this cascade?
  • What are the molecular, cellular, and circuit effects of depression or antidepressants in the developing brain?

Clinical Neuroscience (Genetics, Neuroimaging, and Electrophysiology in Humans)

Led by Dr. John Mann, this effort will cut across many areas within the Department, including Child Psychiatry (collaborating with Dr. Randy Auerbach) and Epidemiology (collaborating with Dr. Myrna Weissman), and will address questions regarding:

  • Which brain abnormalities in humans are most strongly linked to depression and suicide?
  • When do these brain abnormalities arise in an individual’s lifetime, and what has caused them?
  • How do genomics and proteomics contribute to brain abnormalities seen in depression?

Patient-Oriented Clinical Research (Familial Factors, Approaches to Prevention, and Clinical Trials of Novel Interventions)

This type of research is essential for bringing new treatments and prevention methods to our clinics. Led by Dr. Blair Simpson, this cross-cutting research encompasses Child Psychiatry, Epidemiology, Substance Abuse, and the Gender Identity Program, and seeks to answer questions related to:

  • What therapies best target the brain abnormalities linked to depression and suicide?
  • Can early intervention change the trajectory or even prevent the development of depression and suicide?
  • How can the environment be leveraged to protect against depression and suicide? 
  • How can we use technology (specifically innovative e-health tools) to better detect and deliver treatment to youth with depression and suicide?