Since the institute’s inception, our team has supported the initial mission of the institute to develop and test neurosteroids as neuropsychiatric treatments.  Institute work has resulted in successful clinical trials, expansion of research into neuroactive cholesterol metabolites, and other work.

This research has resulted in new NIH funding ($44 million), a licensed library of more than 700 compounds, more than 70 papers, clinical trials research, and 10 patents.

We are recruiting new faculty with complementary expertise to drive research into novel neuropsychiatric treatments.

We are always on the lookout for new trainees to join our research effort.  

Clinical trials

Our partnership with Sage Therapeutics, dating to the inception of the Institute, has led to development of neurosteroids for the treatment of postpartum depression in women and more recently, major depression in women and men.

The Institute has funded pilot research into ketamine and depression, effects of nitrous oxide on treatment-resistant depression, early emotional development in children, high risk adolescents, and genetics of schizophrenia.

Post-partum depression

In women with severe post-partum depression, infusion of brexanolone resulted in a significant and clinically meaningful reduction in HAM-D total score, compared with placebo. These results from colleagues at Sage Therapeutics support the rationale for targeting synaptic and extrasynaptic GABA-A receptors in the development of therapies for patients with post-partum depression. In March 2019 the FDA approved brexanolone (Zulresso) for use in postpartum depression. See articles in the New York Times and from the director of NIMH for context.

Ketamine and depression

Charles Zorumski, MD, Dr. Nuri Farber, MD, and Dr. Eric Lenze MD, of the Department of Psychiatry, have evaluated and published the antidepressant effects of the drug ketamine, which like neurosteroids, may have rapid antidepressant benefit. 

Effects of nitrous oxide on treatment-resistant depression

Charles Conway, MD, professor of Psychiatry, and Peter Nagele, MD, now chair of Anesthesiology at University of Chicago, studied laughing gas — commonly used in dental offices to alleviate pain and anxiety — as a potential treatment for severe depression. About 85 percent of those who attempt suicide are clinically depressed.  The researchers obtained promising pilot data that laughing gas may help patients who are at high risk of such attempts.

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More news of the Institute’s progress