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Developmental approaches to identifying novel neural risk markers and brain-based treatments for mood disorders

Mary L. Phillips, MD
Thursday, October 06, 2022
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Mary L. Phillips, MD
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Grand Rounds

Dr. Phillips has been a leader in affective neuroscience for over 25 years, bridging cognitive and clinical approaches to mood disorders research. Her goal is to understand neuropathophysiological processes predisposing to bipolar disorder and depression, debilitating yet common disorders that are among the top four leading causes of disability worldwide: bipolar disorder alone has a 4.5% US lifetime prevalence and a 20-30 times higher than normal suicide risk. Phillips' ground-breaking research employs multimodal imaging, and novel computational and translational approaches to yield neural biomarkers reflecting these processes, to answer critically important questions relating to diagnosis, early identification and treatment of these disorders in youth and adults. Her work has identified abnormalities in prefrontal-striatal reward cirucitry that are specific to bipolar disorder, to aid more accurate and rapid diagnosis, and identify youth who are at future risk of, the disorder. She is now determining how neural biomarkers can be focally targeted by a new neuromodulation technique, theta burst stimulation, to develop more effective treatments for bipolar and related disorders. Her recent work also examines how the development in infancy of largescale neural networks underlying key processes relevant to affective pathology underlies the development of dimensions of emtoional reactivity that predispose to future mental health problems later in childhood and adolescnece. Her work promotes a neuroscience focus to the study of mood disorders and new treatment developments, to guide the precision medicine agenda in psychiatry.Dr. Phillips has consistently demonstrated research innovation, mentorship expertise and leadership in major international neuroscience societies, where she promotes diversity and has produced a highly distinguished body of work on significant mental health problems. She has succesfully mentored over 100 junior colleagues, including thirteen NIH K awardees, and has presidential or council roles in major international neuroscience societies. She has received many honors and awards for her research and service to the practice of psychiatry.

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Contact: Cathy Lefebvre