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Emotion and Development Branch

Mood Brain & Development Unit (MBDU)

MBDU lab members 

Led by Argyris Stringaris MD, PhD, MRCPsych, the Mood Brain & Development Unit uses neuroimaging and computational methodology in order to improve the recognition and treatment of adolescents with depression. For this purpose, we have a clinical service that includes an inpatient unit dedicated to the research and treatment of adolescent depression and related conditions. The clinical service includes in-depth assessment as well as outpatient and inpatient treatment of depression. As part of that, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is offered to study participants.

The focus of our laboratory is on reward processing in adolescent depression, which we study using a range of methods: from computational modeling of behavior to neuroimaging methods such as functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), electroencephalography (EEG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG), and stimulation with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS).

Methodologically, we try to combine the following:

Longitudinal designs: These help us to establish the direction of effects, an important part of trying to understand causes of depression in youth.

Computational approaches: These are being increasingly used as a means to derive parameters from models of our conception of psychological states, brain mechanisms and their interactions with the environment.

Neuroimaging: Using methods such as fMRI, EEG and MEG we are better able to understand neural mechanisms that may differ between people with and without depression in an effort to better understand how depression emerges in adolescence and test the impact of treatments.

Interventions: Treatments affect mood by changing brain mechanisms. Thus, they are important for assessing causal processes in people with depression. We use both pharmacological and psychological treatments with the goal of improving treatments for adolescent depression. We are also interested in the treatment potential of TMS.

Please see our Unit’s publications for more information.