Mood Disorders Center Faculty

Mood Center Director Alan Schatzberg, MD, and   Allan Reiss, MD, the Howard C. Robbins Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, are using  imaging technology to study the relationship  between cortisol, a stress-marker hormone, and a  key area of the brain that is associated with  increased stress responses and increased risk of  developing psychotic thinking.

Using the latest in genetic analysis techniques, Kiki Chang, MD, (R) professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, is collecting data from families in which both children and adults suffer from bipolar disorder. His studies promise to yield crucial information about which genes indicate risk of developing a mood disorder. He is collaborating with Terence Ketter, MD, (L) professor of  psychiatry and behavioral sciences, who is also studying bipolar disorder in adults and their children.

Karl Deisseroth, MD, PhD, the D.H. Chen Professor and professor of bioengineering and of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, both treats patients and develops molecular and cellular tools to reengineer brain circuits. His lab developed a novel technique to directly control brain cell activity by turning particular neural cells on and off with millisecond pulses of light. The technique may lead to targeted therapies for brain disorders.

Amit Etkin, MD, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, is a pioneer in the use of fMRI to reveal how brain activity differs in healthy people compared with those suffering from mood and anxiety disorders. He is developing novel  treatments for correcting neural circuit dysfunctions in patients with these disorders.

Ian Gotlib, PhD, professor of psychology, is using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to explore emotional processing in children of mothers with depression, who are thought to be at increased risk of developing the disorder. His studies combine genetic characterization with innovative brain imaging techniques and are testing methods to prevent depression in children at risk. 

Jaimie Henderson, MD, John and Jene Blume - Robert and Ruth Halperin Professor,  professor, by courtesy, of Neurologyand, and director of the stereotactic and functional neurosurgery program at Stanford, is a world expert in using deep brain stimulation and other minimally invasive surgical techniques to treat depression.

Leanne Williams, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, is the director of the PanLab and is pioneering the new field of "personal neuroscience."  Her research integrates brain imaging, genetic, behavioral and clinical information in order to re-define depression and anxiety as disorders of brain circuit dysfunction, to understand hot dysfunction is expressed in symptoms and behavior, and to guide personalized treatment.

Modifications in the brain’s reward circuitry play a critical role in both the development and treatment of depression. Robert Malenka, MD, PhD, the Nancy Friend Pritzker Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, is a world leader in studying the molecular mechanisms by which stressful events or drug use modifies the function of key brain synapses. His studies have identified a potential target for treating a major symptom of depression—anhedonia, the inability to experience pleasure.

Integrating her clinical and research expertise in mood and sleep disorders, Rachel Manber, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral Sciences, is working on improving the treatment of depression by simultaneously treating depression and insomnia.

Vinod Menon, PhD, (L), professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, and Michael Greicius, MD,  MPH, (R) associate professor of Neurology and, by courtesy, of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, have developed new fMRI  technology that can image brain circuits at rest, alllowing scientists to study the subgenual cortex,  an area of the brain where activity is increased in depressed patients.

Natalie Rasgon, MD, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, directs the Stanford Center for Neuroscience in Women’s Health, which studies the connections among women’s reproductive hormones, mood disorders, and cognitive health. Rasgon remains at the forefront of the effort to uncover the links between hormones and brain function. 

Depression Research Center co-directors Brent Solvason, MD, PhD, (L) clinical associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, and Charles DeBattista, MD, DMH, (R) professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, apply repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), a new treatment option that uses an electromagnet to stimulate levels of the brain, providing relief to patients with severe mood disorders who do not respond to traditional therapy.

Trisha Suppes, MD, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, is director of the Bipolar and Depression Research Program at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System. A recognized expert in biology and treatment of bipolar disorder, her clinical research focuses on developing optimal treatment approaches for bipolar disorders, including strategies for patients with complex exacerbating conditions, such as anxiety, substance use, or brain injury.