Major depressive disorder (MDD) is projected to cause the second greatest global burden of disease by 2020, highlighting the urgent need for valid predictors of effective treatment response. Currently, there are no accurate predictors of response to antidepressants in MDD, and successful treatment relies greatly on 'trial and error'.

While factors in the environment, such as a difficult family environment, or stressful life events, are major contributors to the likelihood of a person developing MDD, part of the risk for depression depends on an individual’s biological predisposition. Because MDD is a heritable disorder, the relatives of people with depression can provide us with information about the biological predisposition for vulnerability and resilience.

Our group has two main aims:

  • to identify genetic, brain and cognitive markers that predict specific response to a range of antidepressants in patients diagnosed with MDD
  • to understand the vulnerability for depression in individuals in order to develop prevention and early intervention strategies.