Current Studies

Below are short summary of our active studies for which we are recruiting participants. We are working on research in all areas of bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder.
If you have ever experienced any of the following we may have a study for you!

Mania Symptoms include:

  • Racing thoughts
  • Too much energy
  • Decrease need for sleep
  • Elevated mood with unusual happiness
  • Talking fast
  • Reckless behavior
  • Excessive spending

Depression Symptoms include:

  • Feeling down and sad
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Loss of interest in activities and friends
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Problems with sleep
  • Decreased ability to concentrate


This research study is aimed at understanding behaviors and brain circuits that relate to anxiety and depression. Our goal is to learn which circuits of the brain are involved in anxiety and how these circuits might affect daily functioning.

This study has recently added an additional treatment component: participants undergo a 12 week course of either Pramipexole medication or rTMS therapy (explained below). The ultimate goal of the study is to offer participants experiencing anxiety and depression a treatment that is alternative to ones that have failed them in the past, and to apply the knowledge we gain from investigating the brain circuits involved in anxiety and depression to help personalize treatments.

We invite anyone who has recently experienced any symptoms of anxiety and/or depression to participate (no diagnosis is required to participate).

Detailed Description

If you are eligible and choose to participate, we'll ask you to come in for a visit during which you would complete some game-like tasks on the computer, undergo a non-invasive brain scan, and answer some questions about your emotional health. The entire visit takes place during one day at Stanford and lasts about 4-5 hours. We'll also ask you to do a follow-up 12 weeks later, from home, during which we'll again ask you some questions on your emotional health.

Study Population

We expect to enroll 160 individuals spanning the spectrum of anxiety and associated mood symptoms. These individuals include patients of the Gronowski Center, a community clinical psychology center in Palo Alto. We will also recruit from the community through various advertisements. Further, participants will include healthy people recruited by advertisement.

Inclusion Criteria

  • Recent experiences of anxiety and/or depression
  • Ages 18-50

Exclusion Criteria

  • Specific psychiatric medications (case-by-case basis)
  • A diagnosis of Bipolar 1 Disorder, Schizophrenia, or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Any of the following medical conditions: Parkinson's disease; liver or kidney disease; history of epilepsy or seizures; history of cardiovascular disorders (specifically orthostatic hypotension)

If you are interested in the TMS option specifically, an additional inclusion criteria is that you have tried at least one psychiatric medication in the past that didn't work for you. To inquire more about participation, you can either sign up online or contact us.

Sign up online

Contact us

Call or text (650) 600-1609 or email

Having Sleep Problems? Insomnia Related to Bipolar Disorder Study at VA Palo Alto Healthcare System

People with bipolar disorder (manic depression) often have trouble sleeping. This can lead to worsening problems with mood and functioning.

VA Palo Alto Healthcare System is investigating the use of suvorexant for treatment-resistant insomnia in patients with bipolar disorder.

  • Participants will have an initial psychiatric exam and will be monitored during the 14-week study by a psychiatrist who specializes in bipolar disorder.
  • For one week, participants will add suvorexant or a placebo to their current medication treatment.
  • The following week, and for the next 3 months, all participants will receive suvorexant.
  • There is no cost to participants and participants will receive some compensation for time and travel.

If you would like more information about this study, please call E. Grace Fischer at 650-444-8983 or leave a message on screening line at 650-849-0161.  

For further information regarding questions, concerns, or complaints about research, research related injury, and questions about the rights of research participants, please call (650) 723-5244 or call toll free 1-866-680-2906 or write the Administrative Panel on Human Subjects in Medical Research, Administrative Panels Office, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-5401.