The Eisenberg Family Depression Center (EFDC) has a rich legacy of supporting high-impact research on depression and bipolar disorders at the University of Michigan.

Building on this strong foundation, we seek to grow and support our community of researchers, clinical innovators and mental health advocates, expanding the reach and impact of their work even further.

The University of Michigan is a leader across a diverse set of fields that are critically important to depressive illness.  Our Center is investing in key areas with the greatest potential to create transformative advances. These areas of focus are just the starting point for progress:

Prevention

Our Center aims to increase our knowledge of how individual factors like social connection, sleep and exercise, as well as systemic factors impact our mental well-being. We aim to promote interdisciplinary collaborations spanning a variety of fields so we can focus on depression prevention from all angles.

Data and Technology

Mobile technologies offer the ability to collate mental and physical health data imperative to understanding the whole person. These tools also help us track symptoms and gain a better understanding of how to treat, intervene and prevent depression and bipolar disorders.

Precision Mental Health

Precision health practices, including those that utilize the power of mobile technologies, can progress our approach to mental health treatment and management. These tools can rapidly accelerate recovery by helping deliver efficient, in-the-moment intervention strategies as well as well-informed treatment decisions.

Featured Program

Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Program

Approaching bipolar disorder from a multidisciplinary and multidimensional perspective by engaging and collaborating with researchers locally, nationally and internationally. 

Learn More

Recent Publications

Work Hours and Depression in U.S. First-Year Physicians

Newly published in the New England Journal of Medicine, a study from U-M researchers including Amy Boehnert, Ph.D., M.H.S, and Srijan Sen, M.D., Ph.D, EFDC director, finds long work hours are strongly linked to heightened rates of moderate to severe depression in new medical school graduates.

Racial Stress and Trauma and the Development of Adolescent Depression: A Review of the Role of Vigilance Evoked by Racism-Related Threat

Vigilance evoked by racism-related threats is a key mechanism underlying the link between racial stress and trauma and the development of depression in African, Latino/a, and Native American adolescents, according to research from Riana Elyse Anderson, Ph.D., and colleagues from the University of Pittsburgh. Published in Chronic Stress.

Current psychiatric treatment for college students with depression only, anxiety only, or comorbid depression & anxiety (2013–2019)

College students are reporting depression and/or anxiety symptoms and using pharmacological and/or psychotherapy services at an increased rate according to research from Michelle Riba, M.D., M.S., and colleagues from the University of Florida and Johns Hopkins University. Read more in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

Psychosocial Stress and Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis Stress Reactivity: Variations by Race and Socioeconomic Status Among Adults at Risk of Diabetes

Headed by Viktoryia  A. Kalesnikava M.P.H. and Briana Mezuk Ph.D., faculty lead of EFDC's Data & Design Core, this study aims to uncover the how commonly used self-report psychosocial stress measures are related to neurobiological stress processes, especially across diverse populations. Read more on the findings, published in Psychosomatic Medicine.

Polygenic Liability to Depression Is Associated With Multiple Medical Conditions in the Electronic Health Record: Phenome-wide Association Study of 46,782 Individuals

Researchers across U-M’s Medical School, College of LSA, and School of Public Health, including Yu Fang and Leah Richmond-Rakerd, Ph.D., set out to better understand the genetic risk by using data from the Michigan Genomics Initiative to perform a phenome-wide association study. Read more on the findings, published in Biological Psychiatry.

Association of Chronic Disease With Patient Financial Outcomes Among Commercially Insured Adults

Findings from new research by Nora V. Becker, M.D., Ph.D.,  John Z. Ayanian, M.D., M.P.P., and colleagues published in JAMA Internal Medicine show patients with chronic disease, including cancer, heart disease and depression, experience a significantly greater burden of adverse financial outcomes compared with healthier patients.

Hormonal contraceptives, stress, and the brain: The critical need for animal models

Hormonal contraceptives trigger depression or anxiety symptoms for nearly 30 million users. A new study by EFDC member Natalie C. Tronson, Ph.D., and other U-M experts published in the Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology explores how laboratory animal models will be an essential tool for expanding findings to understand the precise mechanisms by which hormonal contraceptives influence the brain, stress responses, and depression risk.

Depressive Symptoms and Caregiving Intensity Before and After Onset of Dementia in Partners
A Retrospective, Observational Study

A recent retrospective, observational study using survey data from the University of Michigan Health and Retirement Study shows depressive symptoms for caregivers increase substantially before the onset of dementia in partners. Findings published in Medical Care.

New Onset Depression Among Surgical Interns: An Alarming Challenge for the Surgical Workforce

Just published in JAMA Surgery, a new study by Tasha M. Hughes, M.D., Amy Bohnert, Ph.D., and colleagues finds that surgical interns are more likely to experience new-onset depression than other first-year residents.

Current Causes of Death in Children and Adolescents

In a recent letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Patrick Carter, M.D., Rebecca Cunningham, M.D., and Jason Goldstick, Ph.D., explore new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing the sharp increase in firearm-related deaths, which has become the leading cause of death for persons 1 to 19 years of age.

Firearm ownership, attitudes, and safe storage practices among a nationally representative sample of older U.S. adults age 50 to 80

Patrick Carter, M.D. and colleagues share data-driven approaches to reduce the firearm death toll in older adults, specifically those with depression, in U-M coverage of a recent study published in Preventive Medicine.

Consumer-grade wearables identify changes in multiple physiological systems during COVID-19 disease progression

A recent interdisciplinary study published in Cell Reports Medicine by Daniel Forger, Ph.D., Sung Won Choi, M.D., Srijan Sen, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues examined the effects of COVID-19 with six factors derived from heart rate data. The researchers reported the method could be used to detect other diseases and track disease at home or when resources are scarce.

Clinician Racial Biases: Preliminary Investigation on Predictors of Poor Therapeutic Alliance and Retention in Home Visiting Intervention Program

Kate Rosenblum, Ph.D., Maria Muzik, M.D., Megan Julian, Ph.D., Jennie Jester, Ph.D., and Larissa Niec published a paper in Maternal and Child Health Journal based on the Infant Mental Health study examining associations between client–therapist alliance and social, economic, and racial demographics.

Anxiety and Depression During COVID-19: Are Adults in Households with Children Faring Worse?

A recent study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine by Vijay Singh, M.D., and colleagues show that adults in households with children have fewer mental health problems than other adults living without kids. Childcare—beyond the effect of larger household size—may actually reduce depression during pandemic social isolation.

Treatment-resistant depression reconsidered  

Hans Schroder, Ph.D., recipient of the 2021 Oscar Stern Strategic Translational Research Award, joined Elissa Patterson and Laura Hirshbein to examine the implications of Treatment Resistant Depression diagnosis with a recent paper published in the Social Science & Medicine - Mental Health Journal.