New Core Units Aim to Accelerate Discovery at the Eisenberg Family Depression Center

The Eisenberg Family Depression Center (EFDC) will launch three Core units to drive forward high-impact research across all areas of depression and associated mood disorders. These Cores, together with a robust Outreach & Education program, will be integral to the EFDC’s renewed vision to catalyze interdisciplinary collaborations that produce high-impact advances to improve the mental health and quality of life for individuals suffering, their families and communities.

The EFDC will host Core facilities in a newly secured space within the North Campus Research Complex.

“With key resources and new methods to collaborate, our talented researchers at U-M will have even more potential to solve many of the unanswered questions surrounding depression,” says Srijan Sen, M.D., Ph.D., Director of EFDC. “The goal of our new Cores is to empower these scientists, engage their expertise, and foster connections to bring forth bold ideas and new hypotheses. Together, we can create the necessary paradigm shift in research and clinical practice to propel our understanding of depression into a new age.”

Unlike most other leading causes of death and disability in the U.S., the impact of depressive illnesses has continued to rise, with rates of depression increasing more than threefold during the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent progress in data science, neuroscience, and technology development hold immense potential to reverse this devastating trend. With the launch of its Core units, the EFDC aims to make these advancements available to researchers across the U-M in the coming months.

The Cores will provide EFDC members with tailored resources and faculty and staff support in order to further drive forward high-impact research. 

Research Innovation Core

The Research Innovation Core will bring together U-M scientists with diverse skill sets and knowledge capable of generating new ways to examine the etiology, prevention and treatment of depression. This Core aims to catalyze groundbreaking research programs and interdisciplinary collaborations through events, funding, personalized faculty support, and other tailored services. 

“By focusing on accelerating discovery–we are also focusing on long-term, community-wide impact. We want to not only help those suffering today–but eliminate the possibility of depression’s continual rise.” Patricia Deldin, Ph.D., Deputy Director & Research Innovation Core Faculty Lead

“We believe more effective mental health treatment and prevention is just around the corner. Our aim is to strategically support investigators in realizing their brilliant ideas and carrying them forward.” Karen Dugas, Research Innovation Core Manager

Detailed information about the Research Innovation Core resources, services and events will be available this spring. 

Data & Design Core

U-M scientists, particularly early-career scientists, are generating research ideas and hypotheses that have the potential to substantially advance the field of depression. The Data & Design Core accelerates the research design cycle by providing scientists with individualized study design, dataset guidance, research methods and analytic support.

“We hope that this Core can help investigators get from an impactful question to answer much more quickly. To our knowledge, this program is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for early career faculty affiliated with EFDC.” Donovan T. Maust, M.D., M.S. and Briana Mezuk, PhD, Data & Design Faculty Leads

“A central goal of the Core is to establish an incubator program that will prioritize innovative projects from early-career scientists with creative, untapped approaches to research, but may lack the resources and training to bring their research ideas into fruition. Through this work, the EFDC can make early investments in emerging research voices and help build a more robust, diverse research workforce.” –Meghan Seewald, Data & Design Core Manager

The Data & Design Core aims to launch a dataset resource hub and consultation service available to EFDC members in summer 2022. Plans to implement an incubator program for early-career scientists are underway, with a goal to welcome the first cohort of fellows in fall 2022. 

Mobile Technologies Core

Digital technology has the power to transform mental health research and care. Wearable sensors and devices can increase the capacity to collect passive, multi-dimensional and longitudinal measures that are central to our understanding of depression. The Mobile Technologies Core will promote high-impact, transdisciplinary studies that utilize the promise cutting-edge technologies have to improve mental health.

“Mobile technologies will allow for deeper phenotyping of depression, which will provide the ability to personalize treatments with the ultimate goal of improved outcomes.”
Dr. Cathy Goldstein, Mobile Technologies Core Faculty Lead

“We want to lower the barriers for U-M researchers to use mobile technologies in their studies. The Mobile Technologies Core will help researchers uncover how, when, and what devices will aid their work and drive more innovative studies.”
Victoria Bennett, Mobile Technologies Core Manager

More information about the Mobile Technology Core services will be forthcoming this spring. The Core leadership also seeks to collaborate with other U-M entities utilizing digital technology in research. 

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