Pediatric Emotion And Resilience Lab (PEARL)

Here at Stanford's Pediatric Emotion And Resilience Lab (PEARL), we are a diverse group of physicians, psychologists, researchers, and students, all dedicated to discovering the nature of emotion and resilience in children in order to help treat youth suffering from major mood disorders or those who are at risk of developing these conditions.

The PEARL aims to openly connect a child's emotional life experience with human biology.  Mood problems in children are brain based, and we strive to understand the neural circuit dysfunction that underlies mood problems through critical sensitive periods in brain development.  We take a holistic biopsychosocial approach to understanding and treating mood problems among youth that encompasses many aspects of childrens’ lives. We hope this multidisciplinary approach will lead to a greater understanding of how to treat mood problems and lead to happier and healthier youth.

Current PEARL Studies


We strive to conduct the most cutting edge research at Stanford Pediatric Mood Disorders Research Program, with a vision to critically advance the science underlying the onset, development, and progression of mood problems in youth.  Using an integrated multidisciplinary approach, we rigorously design prospective studies using novel neuroimaging, cognitive, clinical, physiological, and behavioral assessments to examine specific neurobiological pathways that lead to the development and continuation of a first major mood episode. We hope this research will make progress toward: identifying and integrating biomarkers and behavioral indicators of major mood disorders, identifying critical windows of risk in the progression of mood symptoms by defining developmental trajectories, and identifying risk factors that modulate disease trajectories for major mood disorders. 

Faculty in the Pediatric Mood Disorders Program are fundamentally interested in understanding several domains in a child's emotional experience, and contextualizing this experience both in terms of healthy brain development and in terms of potential vulnerabilities for emotion dysregulation.  Our studies are currently supported by both intramural and extramural funding sources, including Stanford's Child Health Research Institute (CHRI), the National Institute of Mental Health, and the Office of Research in Women's Health.  We collaborate with the Lucile Packard Children’s Foundation at Stanford and the research endowment for the Division and the National Network of Depression Centers to actively promote innovations in the clinical care of children and adolescents who experience serious mood disorders.  Other areas of interest that span the spectrum of mood disorders include pubertal and other hormonal influences on evolution of mood symptoms, treatment refractory depression, antidepressant induced mania and mania-like symptoms, and promoting a strong evidence base for treating mood disorders using medications, psychotherapies (family and individual), and cognitive training (interpretation bias, reward training). We are also interested in better understanding the role of existing evidence-based interventions such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for suicidal thoughts/behaviors and relapse prevention. 

Current Collaborative Studies

Child Network Study

Child Network Study
Join a Child Network for parents to weekly rate a child’s (age 2-12) symptoms of anxiety, depression, ADHD, oppositional behavior, and mania on a secure website.   


TIGER study

TIGER (Teen Inflammation Glutamate Emotion Research) Study
Longitudinal study of adolescent stress and depression - recruiting 13-17 year old teens with current major depressive disorder. Contact Dr. Tiffany Ho at: or (650) 721-5077 and leave a message.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Teen Study

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Teen Study
Interested in a non-medication alternative to treating your child’s depression? Our program is collaborating with Stanford's Depression Research Clinic to conduct Stanford's first ever trial using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) in 12-21-year-old youth with depression. Contact Jessica Hawkins at (650) 723-8323 for more details.

Daily Rest

Daily Rest
Our aim is to better understand sleep in youth diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and to explore the relation of sleep to mood in this population.This study involves a two night, in home sleep assessment and a daily diary. Please contact Dr. Anda Gershon ( for more information.