Professor Mary Phillips

The Think-Tank seminar series

Diagnostic issues in bipolar disorder risk across the lifespan: neuroimaging approaches


Professor Mary Phillips, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh USA

Date and time

12:00 - 1:00pm, 12 October 2012


A key area of my research has been to use different neuroimaging techniques to study neural  circuitry underlying emotion and affect processing, and to develop models of normal emotion processing that can be used as a platform to develop diagnostic models for bipolar and other mood disorders.  Here, my colleagues and I have shown that individuals with different mood disorders can be distinguished by abnormally elevated activity and functional connectivity in neural circuitry important for regulating responses to emotional stimuli.  A second area of my research has been to identify markers of risk for future mood disorders in at risk children and adolescents. Here, my colleagues and I are focusing on developmental trajectories in emotion regulation neural circuitry in youth as a first stage toward identifying biomarkers that may help identify those youth who are at highest risk for future mood disorders such as bipolar disorder. This line of research includes collaborations with leading child psychiatrists at the University of Pittsburgh in a large study of youth at genetic risk for bipolar and other mood disorders,  and collaboration on a large scale multisite study examining youth clinically at risk for mood disorders that involves the University of Pittsburgh, Case Western University, the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, and the Ohio State University . These emerging finding suggest that the  use of traditional clinical, along with neuroimaging, approaches has potential to improve diagnostic accuracy of mood disorders such as bipolar disorder across the lifespan.