Selected Current Studies

Interested in research participation? We are currently recruiting patients with bipolar disorder or major depression. Please call Sarah at 617-643-3105 or email to see if you might be eligible to participate in a study.

Simvastatin Augmentation of Lithium Treatment in Bipolar Depression

The purpose of this research study is to see if the drug, simvastatin, is safe and effective in treating people who have bipolar disorder and are experiencing an episode of depression. The drug is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to lower cholesterol levels, but the FDA has not approved simvastatin to treat bipolar disorder.  In this study, patients will receive either add-on simvastatin or placebo for 8 weeks at no cost. This study involves a screening and baseline visit, followed by 8 weekly visits with the possibility of continuing simvastatin for 6 months. Eligible patients will come to study visits and receive laboratory tests and physical examinations at no cost.

Bipolar patients aged of 18-65, who are currently experiencing depressive symptoms and taking lithium, valproate, or another atypical antipsychotic, please contact the research coordinator at 617-643-3105 or for more information.

 The Use of Human Skin in the Creation of Cellular Models of Mood Disorders

The purpose of this research study is to collect, process, and store samples to do research on depression and bipolar disorder. This research study looks at changes in the human body associated with depression and bipolar disorder. Part of this study involves the collection of hair, skin, and blood samples that will be stored in a tissue bank for later use. Research using these samples will attempt to identify causes and what helps prevent, treat, or cure bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder. In addition, the samples collected for thus study will be used for genetic research on these diseases.

If you are interested in this study please contact the research coordinator at (617) 643-3105 or


This study, in partnership with Informatics for Integrating Biology and the Bedside (i2b2), applies machine-learning techniques and natural language processing tools to parse medical records in order to rapidly and securely identify individuals who appear to be at risk for treatment-resistant major depression, in contrast to those responding well to standard antidepressants.

Children on Lithium Therapy Pharmacogenetics of Lithium Response Study (COLT-PG)

Treatments for Bipolar Disorder (BPD) are not uniformly effective and the biological basis for BPD is obscure. Unfortunately, there are very few consistent clinical predictors to help match individuals with BPD to a mood-stabilizing medication that is effective for them and identifying the best medication is typically a difficult process of trial and error. However, genetic variation has been suggested to influence the likelihood of responding to a particular pharmacotherapy and small studies suggest that response to Lithium treatment may be familial. Therefore, this study aims to determine whether subgroups of people with BPD – individuals on Lithium therapy who respond/don’t respond/experience adverse effects – are more genetically homogeneous. This will then reveal the influence of genes on BPD and treatment response.


Current and past CEDD studies are supported by funding from NIMH, NARSAD, the National Science Foundation, AHRQ, the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute, the American Philosophical Society, the Bowman Family Foundation, and the Sidney J. Baer, Jr. Foundation, as well as by industry partners including Proteus Biomedical.






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