Depression and Anxiety Disorders

Depression and anxiety are among the world’s leading causes of disease burden, yet our understanding of their pathogenesis remains limited and effective new treatments have proven difficult to develop. Virtually all available medications used to treat depression and anxiety are still based on serendipitous discoveries made more than six decades ago. Despite this frustrating track record for the field, a uniquely broad translational research team at Mount Sinai is now poised to make fundamental advances.

Areas of Research

Genetic and Epigenetic Basis of Depression and Anxiety

We have known for decades that depression and anxiety are highly heritable; however, it has been difficult to identify the specific genes that comprise this risk. Epigenetic regulation, which controls the function of genes, contributes to this difficulty. We are pioneering studies of the genetic and epigenetic causes of depression and anxiety and producing novel information about disease pathogenesis, as well as resistance to these disorders (resilience).

Scientists involved: Schahram Akbarian, Eric J. Nestler, Scott J. Russo, Stephen Salton, Anne Schaefer, Pamela Sklar, Rachel Yehuda, Venetia Zachariou

Neural Circuit Basis of Depression and Anxiety

Depression and anxiety are mediated by abnormal functioning of several overlapping neural circuits in the brain. Mount Sinai scientists are studying these abnormal circuits in animal models and in humans using cutting-edge approaches, including optogenetics and brain imaging.

Scientists involved: Mark Baxter, Paula Croxson, Ming-Hu Han, Brian Iacoviello, John H. Morrison, James Murrough, Eric J. Nestler, Scott J. Russo, Daniela Schiller

Neuroinflammatory, Metabolic, and Cardiovascular Contributions to Depression and Anxiety

The brain does not function in isolation.  It is highly influenced by several other organ systems and, in turn, controls those other organs. This explains why the incidence of depression is very high in a subset of patients with inflammatory disease, obesity, heart disease, and multiple sclerosis, to name a few. Mount Sinai scientists are carrying out groundbreaking research in the role of inflammation, the microbiome, peripheral metabolism, and cardiovascular status in animal models and in humans as a means of developing novel approaches to treatment.

Scientists involved: Juan J. Badimon, Patrizia Casaccia, Miriam Merad, Eric J. Nestler, Scott J. Russo, Venetia Zachariou

New Treatments for Depression and Anxiety

All of our work in animal models is directed toward clinical advances, in particular, more accurate ways of diagnosing subtypes of depression and anxiety and more effective means of treating them. Mount Sinai scientists, in conjunction with an outstanding team of doctors and other health care providers at the Mount Sinai Health System, are leading the way in new diagnostic and treatment approaches. Learn more. (Link to disease/treatment page within site)

Scientist Involved: Dennis S. Charney, Wayne Goodman, Erin A. Hazlett, Brian Iacoviello, Dan V. Iosifescu, Charles Kellner, Brian Kopell, James Murrough, Rachel Yehuda

Contact Us

Eric Nestler, MD, PhD
Phone: 212-659-5996
Send e-mail

1425 Madison Avenue
Room 10-23
New York, NY 10029

Schedule an Appointment

James W. Murrough, MD
Phone: 212-241-7574
Fax: 212-241-3554
Send e-mail

1428 Madison Avenue
E Level, Room ABE-39
New York, NY 10029