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Faculty & Staff Honors

Major Depressive Disorder Target of $3.13 Million Tulane Study

Tulane University has received a five-year $3.13 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to study the causes of major depressive disorder (MDD). “Major depressive disorder is a devastating psychiatric disorder that affects millions of Americans,” says Dr. Jinying Zhao, associate professor of epidemiology at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and principal investigator. The research team wants to identify alterations of genetic makeup (“epigenetic” changes) that may cause the disorder. “Epigenetic changes are related to many psychosocial, behavioral, and/or environmental factors,” says Dr. Zhao. “For MDD, stressful early life events are believed to play an important role in causing the disease through epigenetic mechanisms.”