depression research

Alan J. Robinson robin073 at
Mon Dec 18 15:59:46 EST 1995

On Mon, 18 Dec 1995 04:04:35 UTC, 
Vampirehunter D  <an24923 at > wrote:

>I'm applying to MD/PhD programs next year and I'm interested in the
>cellular and neurochemical causes of depression and the pharmacology of
>treatment. I am looking for excellent graduate programs that are focused
>on this area. I'd appreciate suggestions from people who know.
>Brad Mellema
>mellema.brad at


Helping someone choose a good graduate program is a bit like helping 
someone find a spouse - not an easy task - just ask Charles and Diana 
<g>.  And you didn't even say from where in the world you were 

I don't have specific knowledge of the MD/PhD programs themselves, but 
I'm pretty much aware of who are the leaders in research into 
biological psychiatry and the related behavioral and brain sciences.  
Just about anywhere you go in the world you will find someone working 
on depression, but the overall world leader in biopsychiatric research 
is Washington U. St. Louis.  (The U. of Iowa has also done good work 
in the past.)  If you are looking at Europe, the counterpart would be 
the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, who have done a lot of work 
with Washington U. in the past.  The San Diego area also seems to be 
the hot spot for the more basic neuroscience research.

Interestingly enough, the traditional medical schools on the East 
Coast of the U.S. could well turn out to be very poor choices in 
this area of medicine.  While they do have some notable researchers, 
schools like Harvard, Yale, and Johns Hopkins are so far behind in 
their overall understanding of the brain that they are holding up the 
progress of medicine.  (The brain is the key to almost ALL disease).

It's a good example of the universal fate of institutions - once an 
institution becomes successful it ends up becoming reactionary and 
a barrier to progress.  (Theories of etiology, pathophysiology, and 
therapeutics for the psychiatric disorders have undergone more radical 
changes in the 19th and 20th centuries than in any other branch of 

BTW, I was wondering why you sent this as an anonymous message as you 
included an e-mail sig.

There has also been a major breakthrough in the treatment of the 
depressive spectrum disorders in the last couple of years - the use 
of a combination of dopamine and serotonin indirect agonists.  I'm not 
aware of any institution that has picked up on this yet except in 
animal model research at Rutgers, though plenty of people know about 


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