Mood and Anxiety Disorders Research Program

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The Mood and Anxiety Disorders Research Program (MADRP) believes that solving the mystery of mental illness and improving how we treat mental illness begins with studying the brain. Therefore, the MADRP integrates affective, cognitive, and social neuroscience perspectives and uses a multi-level, multi-unit analytic approach from internal milieu to peripheral psychophysiology to (c)overt actions to brain structure-function to pharmacologic manipulation to clinical trials. The Program primarily uses magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI, DTI, sMRI) and electroencephalography (EEG) of event-related potentials (ERP) as predominant tools to assess brain circuit function as they relate to emotion, affect regulation, motivation and decision-making. The Program appreciates the importance of individual differences, studies patients across the lifespan from childhood to adulthood and takes a longitudinal view of illness, from risk to illness to recovery. We focus on anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and alcohol and drug use disorders. The Program is intentionally multi-disciplinary and patient-oriented, and crosses both the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, and engages in collaboration with other investigators across the city of Chicago and the country. The MADRP aims to answer three main questions: 1) What are the nodes of brain dysfunction in mood, anxiety and addiction disorders?; 2) How do treatments work and for whom?; and 3) Where and how do exogenous neuromodulatory agents (e.g., drugs of abuse, hormones,  direct current stimulation) exert their effects on brain and behavior. Ultimately, we seek to make current treatments better and to innovate novel treatment and prevention strategies to reduce the burden of mental illness.

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