The Staff at the Bipolar and Depression Research Program are integral to the success of our studies and our reputation for patient care. The men and women at the Bipolar and Depression Research Program each have a thorough understanding of Bipolar Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder, their course and treatment and are dedicated to improving the lives of individuals living with these disorders.
Trisha Suppes, MD, PHD
Dr. Suppes is a Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine, Director of the Exploratory Therapeutics Laboratory, Founder of the Bipolar Disorders Research Program at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, and the President of the International Society for Bipolar Disorders. She is the Director of the Palo Alto Veterans Affairs Cooperative Studies Program Network of Dedicated Enrollment Sites. She is a recognized expert on the biology and treatment of bipolar disorder and major depressive disorders. Her areas of specific expertise include long-term treatment strategies for mood disorders, identification and treatment of bipolar II disorder, treatment of those with bipolar disorders and co-morbid conditions, and use of complementary medicine for mood disorders. She and the lab are now also beginning to work with exploratory therapeutics to address mood disorders.
Dr. Suppes has been integrally involved in numerous initiatives to improve evidence-based treatment for bipolar disorders, including the Texas Medication Algorithm Project, the American Psychiatric Association guidelines, Florida State guidelines and CANMAT for bipolar disorder and major depression. These have been widely disseminated and adopted both nationally and internationally.
Dr. Suppes and her collaborators have been actively exploring new treatments for bipolar disorders and major depressive disorders. Dr. Suppes work has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, NARSAD, Stanley Medical Research Institute, and numerous other foundation and industry sponsors. She is currently the principal investigator on Veterans Affairs, Foundation, NIMH, and Industry studies.
She has served as an associate editor on the American Journal of Psychiatry Editorial Board and is a past member of the Board of Councilors for the International Society for Bipolar Disorders (ISBD). Dr. Suppes is currently President of the ISBD (2018-2019). Dr. Suppes was a member of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Work Group for the Practice Guidelines for Bipolar Disorder and a member of the Mood Disorders Workgroup for the APA Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders 5 (DSM-5) revision. Dr. Suppes was chair of the Bipolar Disorder subcommittee of the Mood Disorders Workgroup for DSM-5. She also serves as a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. She has authored or co-authored over 200 peer-reviewed articles.
Dr. Suppes consults with providers, families, and patients on treatment strategies for those with complex or refractory bipolar disorders. She is the author of a number of books in the field including Treatment and Management of Bipolar II Disorder, Bipolar Disorder Advances in Psychotherapy, and Bipolar Disorder Assessment and Treatment.
Dr. Suppes lectures nationally and internationally on bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder. Over the course of her career, she has mentored numerous interns, residents, fellows, and graduate students in multiple fields. She has taught psychopharmacology and other topics in psychiatry residency programs.
Michael J. Ostacher, MD, MPH, MMSc
Dr. Ostacher is Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Staff Psychiatrist at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, where he is the Medical Director of the Bipolar and Depression Research Program and the Director of Advanced Fellowship Training in Psychiatry for the VISN 21 MIRECC. A graduate of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, the Harvard School of Public Health, and Harvard Medical School, he completed his training at The Cambridge Health Alliance at Harvard Medical School in Adult Psychiatry, Public Psychiatry, and Geriatric Psychiatry, and is currently board certified in Psychiatry, Addiction Psychiatry, and Addiction Medicine. He is the Digital Content Editor for the journal Evidence-Based Mental Health and is on the editorial boards of Bipolar Disorders, the International Journal of Bipolar Disorders, the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, Current Psychiatry, and Psychiatric Annals. He is the Co-Chair of the Bipolar Disorder Task Group of the National Network of Depression Centers. He is on the Executive Committee and is a Site PI for CSP 590, a VA-wide 29-site multicenter study of lithium for suicide prevention in bipolar disorder, and PRIME-VA, a 21-site study of pharmacogenomics in the treatment of major depressive disorder. With funding from NIDA, he studies, along with Jaimee Heffner, Ph.D. at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, smoking cessation in people with bipolar disorder using a novel online psychotherapy derived from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. His primary research interest is in large clinical trials in bipolar disorder and depression, and the implementation of evidence-based mental health practices.
Victoria E. Cosgrove, PhD
Dr. Cosgrove received her B.A. in Psychology from Yale University in 1998. She worked as a clinical research coordinator in Boston and New York until 2003 when she began graduate school at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Until 2009 when she graduated, she developed clinical acumen in evidence-based psychotherapies for individuals and families and focused her research efforts on understanding the role that genetics may play in the development of mood disorders early in life. She moved to the Bay Area when she matched for Internship at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System (2008-2009). She resumed her work with adolescents and families the following year, completing a three-year fellowship at Stanford (2009-2012).
Dr. Cosgrove is interested in how individuals respond both psychosocially and biologically to acute and chronic stress, how stress responsivity contributes to the development and progression of mood disorders, and whether psychotherapy may offer ways to alter stress responsivity. She is actively involved in multiple research projects both examining genetic and immunological factors involved in the development of mood disorders as well as treatment studies (group therapy, internet-based psychotherapy) for youth and adults with bipolar disorder and other mood psychopathology.
E. Grace Fischer, BS
E. Grace Fischer, BS is the Clinical Coordinator with the Bipolar and Depression Research Program at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System. Ms. Fischer received her undergraduate degree in rehabilitation studies from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. She has worked in the mental health field since 1989 focusing on persons with severe chronic mental illnesses and for the last 20 years worked specifically in the coordination of medication treatment trials. Before moving to the VA Palo Alto Health Care System in September, 2008, Ms. Fischer was the lead Clinical Research Coordinator of the Bipolar and Depression Research Program at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. Ms. Fischer has coauthored several papers on the treatment of Bipolar Disorder with Dr. Suppes and presented her research findings at various conferences.
Karen Bratcher, MSN, RN
Karen Bratcher, MSN, RN, is the manager of the VA Cooperative Studies Program NODES (Network of Dedicated Enrollment Sites) program at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System. Along with Dr. Suppes, Ms. Bratcher provides leadership to the NODES Initiative and adjunctively to the Bipolar and Depression mental health clinical trials in PTSD, depression, mood disorders and suicide.
Ms. Bratcher received both her BSN and MSN from the University of San Francisco. She holds certification as a Certified Clinical Research Coordinator and is an active member of the Association of Clinical Research Professionals. Ms. Bratcher has over 30 years experience working in clinical trials and other research related roles. She has managed Phase I through Phase IV clinical trials. Before transition to the VA Cooperative Studies Program, Ms. Bratcher was the Manager of the Center for Clinical Research at VA Palo Alto; a designated patient centered unit that supports clinical research activities for both BA and Stanford physicians of multi subspecialties. Her knowledge and practice in clinical research is broad and extensive with clinical expertise in pharmacokinetics, exercise studies, study drug infusion studies, IRB processes and regulatory affairs.
Denishia Robbins, MSW
Denishia Robbins, MSW is a clinical research assistant with the Bipolar and Depression Research Program at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System. Ms. Robbins has been with the program for over 4 years starting as a volunteer. Ms. Robbins received her Master's in Social Work from University of Southern California (USC), specializing in mental health and military social work. While attending school, she did a one-year internship where she worked with a variety of different populations at a dual-diagnosis community program. At her time with the clinic, Ms. Robbins has worked on multiple research studies on Bipolar and Depression. Currently Ms. Robbins is the lead study coordinator for a study on Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); a Smoking cessation in individuals with Bipolar Disorder, and is a coordinator on a genomic trials of veterans with depression.
Ann N. Roseman, BA
Ann N. Roseman, BA is a Health Science Specialist and is the Network of Dedicated Enrollment Sites Assistant at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System’s Cooperative Studies Program. She supports the NODES team by focusing on the daily operations and standardization of individual CSP trials within the VAPAHCS. Ms. Roseman earned her B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley. She has over 30 years of experience in basic science research labs, specialized in microscopy research studies, and has co-authored multiple research publications in peer-reviewed journals. Ms. Roseman has worked at VAPAHCS for over 20 years in the Research department.
Jay Lyu, BA
Jay Lyu, BA joined the Bipolar and Depression Research Program at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System as a Research Associate. Mr. Lyu received his BA in Psychology from San Jose State University in 2017 and is currently obtaining his MA in Counseling Psychology from Santa Clara University. He will be attending Palo Alto University in September 2018 to obtain his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Prior to joining the VA, Mr. Lyu pursued research in Autism Spectrum Disorder and Human-Technology Interaction at SJSU, where he specialized in obtaining, analyzing, and publishing collected data. Mr. Lyu joined the Bipolar and Depression Research Program in April 2017 and has worked on projects involving the treatment of PTSD, smoking cessation in individuals with Bipolar Disorder, and genomic trials of veterans with Depression. He is also a contributing author to upcoming studies focusing on Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in treating veterans with subthreshold depression, and the use of Psilocybin/MDMA in treatment-resistant mood disorders.