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Research mission

 

The Neuromodulation of Emotion (NEMO) Research Group is a team of clinician scientists with a background in psychiatry or psychology who work together in understanding emotion and improving the treatment of mental disorders characterized by a lack of emotional equilibrium, including depression and anxiety. Unfortunately, up to 30% of patients with depression and anxiety do not respond to psychotherapy and standard medication. Unravelling the pathophysiological substrates of depression and anxiety, and developing personalized treatments targeting these substrates, thus is of tremendous importance to our research agenda. Converging evidence suggests that there are specific brain circuits that mediate stress responsiveness and regulate emotional and cognitive functions. Depression and anxiety represent brain-based disorders that lead to dysregulation of these neural circuits. Our work has its focus on developing innovative neuromodulatory and neuroendocrine therapies precisely addressing these networks in order to establish more rapid and robust methodologies for treating depression and anxiety. A particularly promising new lead for translation into the clinic is the peptide hormone oxytocin, which penetrates the brain after intranasal administration and subtly modulates emotional and social functions in a context-dependent manner. By pursuing clinical studies in patients as well as preclinical studies in healthy volunteers, NEMO combines translational research strategies and integrates key insights from diverse methodological sources, including behavioral neuroscience, functional neuroimaging, and a broad range of brain stimulation techniques from neuronavigated TMS to DBS. The overall aim is to foster the advent of personalized medicine in psychiatry, which seeks to identify factors that contribute to vulnerability to psychiatric disorders and accuracy of diagnosis as well as the major goal of increasing efficacy of therapeutic interventions and decreasing adverse effects by considering the individual characteristics of each patient. Taken together, our research activities are centered around three core themes:

(i) Clinical Translation of Oxytocin Neuroscience 

(ii) Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) for Depression 

(iii) Personalized Medicince in Psychiatry