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Mood Brain & Development Unit

Mood Brain & Development Unit (MBDU)

Group photo of Mood Brain & Development Unit


Dr Stringaris Awarded Klerman Prize

Photo of Argyris Stringaris, MD, PhD, Chief of Mood Brain and Development Unit in the Emotion and Development Branch of NIMH IRP. Dr Argyris Stringaris was awarded the 2019 Gerald L Klerman Young Investigator (under 45 years) Prize, the highest honor that the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance gives to members of the scientific community. Presented each year, this award recognizes researchers whose work advances knowledge of the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of depression and bipolar disorder. The award will be presented at a special ceremony in May at the 2019 American Psychiatric Association Conference.

Lab Alumna Awarded NSF Fellowship

Ms. Jamila Silver, an alumna of MBDU, was awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. In her own words:

Jamila Silver

Jamila Silver

"I have been fortunate enough to be accepted into the PhD program in Clinical Psychology at Stony Brook University, and to be awarded the National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF GRFP). Obtaining a PhD in Clinical Psychology will provide me with the training and experiences necessary to conduct research aimed at understanding and identifying risk factors that contribute to the early onset of depression. The NSF GRFP offers substantial financial support and opportunities for international research experience and professional development throughout my graduate studies.

Though the application process was strenuous, I believe gaining valuable and diverse research experiences is what allowed me to be successful. Throughout my undergraduate career, I worked in multiple research labs and gained a variety of experiences within each lab. Working with different populations and in different settings allowed me to learn the processes of conducting research and allowed me to refine my own research and clinical interests.

More specifically, working as a summer intern at the National Institute of Mental Health in the Mood Brain and Development Unit was an instrumental part of my success. At NIMH, I gained extensive hands on research and clinical experience while exploring which aspects of developmental and neurobiological processes underlying depression and psychopathological development were of most interest to me.

Having a breadth of research experiences was pivotal to my success in applying to PhD programs and to being awarded the NSF GFRP. Having a more developed sense of what I wanted to research and gaining valuable knowledge in how to design and conduct research made my applications much stronger."

Led by Argyris Stringaris MD, PhD, FRCPsych, 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.

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.