Mood Disorders

Mood and Emotional Disorders Across the Lifespan

The Department of Psychiatry at Indiana University has a long, rich history of research and discovery in the area of mood disorders.  Preclinical and clinical research is conducted in several dynamic programs to advance the understanding of the underlying causes of major depression and bipolar disorders and to develop and refine treatments for these serious and debilitating mental illnesses.

Neuroimaging Studies

Research at Indiana University combines state-of-the-art techniques of brain imaging and genetic research to investigate whether genetic variation affects response to anti-depressant medications and the propensity for side effects from these widely used medications.

Other novel investigations utilize functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) techniques to investigate the cortico-limbic connectivity and activation abnormalities that may be present in different phases of bipolar disorder.

Bipolar Research Collaboration

The Bipolar Research Collaboration, which includes eleven universities with Indiana University as the lead site, seeks to understand the heritable factors (genes) of bipolar disorders. The goals of the research project are to detect and localize the genes that increase or decrease chances of developing bipolar disorder and related conditions and to compile a national archival database for bipolar disorder (a gene bank) that can provide researchers well-categorized samples for genetic studies.

Faculty currently involed in this research:
John Nurnberger, M.D., Ph.D.

Other researchers at Indiana University are utilizing additional methods to characterize the genes linked to bipolar disorder. Methods in human models include studies of clinical subtypes, identification of candidate genes, DNA sequencing, PCR genotyping, hybrid analysis of protein-protein interactions, neuropharmacogenomics, microarray gene expression, convergent functional genomics, and  phenochipping. Methods in animal models include in-situ hybridization, immunohistochemistry, receptor autoradiography. radioimmunoassay, breeding studies, and gene localization.

Faculty currently involved in this research:
John Nurnberger, M.D., Ph.D.
Alexander B. Niculescu, M.D., Ph.D.


Multiple clinical trials are being conducted at Indiana University to develop and refine medication treatment of bipolar disorder and depression.  Explorations are underway to develop novel treatments for bipolar disorder depression which potentially could more effectively treat the depression, stabilize mood in the long-term, and also treat other sequelae of bipolar disorder such as cognitive impairment.

Faculty currently involved in this research:
Anantha Shekhar, M.D., Ph.D.

Learn more about our current research studies.

Department of Psychiatry | 355 W. 16th St., Suite 4800 | Indianapolis, IN 46202 | Ph: (317) 963-7288 | Fax: (317) 963-7313