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The Center for Quantitative Health (CQH) in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital focuses on bringing new discoveries in neuroscience and genetics to the clinic. Our mission includes developing and beginning clinical investigation of novel therapeutics as well as diagnostic tests and other tools to improve patient outcomes.
Interested in research participation? We are currently recruiting patients with bipolar disorder or major depression. Please call 617-643-3105 or email CEDD@partners.org to see if you might be eligible to participate in a study.
Simvastatin augmentation of lithium treatment in bipolar depression
The Use of Human Skin in the Creation of Cellular Models of Mood Disorders
Children on Lithium Therapy Pharmacogenetics of Lithium Response Study (COLT-PG)
In spite of newer and sometimes life-saving treatments developed over the past two decades, many patients with mental illness still do not experience full recovery. In particular, one third of people with mental illness may experience treatment-resistant illness, or residual symptoms despite some improvement. Others benefit from treatment but must live with substantial side effects that interfere with their functioning and quality of life. The need for safer and more effective treatments remains acute.
At present, there is a substantial gap between the remarkable progress in understanding the neuroscience and genetics of brain diseases, and the creation of new treatments which actually impact patients’ lives.
By facilitating the interaction of clinical and basic scientists at MGH and the broader community, and providing tools to do challenging but essential studies, CQH is intended to bridge this gap. It works closely with the Mass General clinical and research programs, with the Clinical Trials Network and Institute (CTNI), and with translational programs such as the Psychiatric and Neurodevelopmental Genetics Unit (PNGU) and the Center for Genomic Medicine.
One area of focus is pharmacogenomics—studying the impact of genetic variation on treatment response. In particular, CQH researchers are investigating the usefulness of integrating genetic tests with other biomarkers and clinical prediction. Our researchers are founding members of international consortia investigating the genetics of antidepressant response and lithium response.
A second focus is cellular models of disease, including models using induced pluripotent stem cells. These models can be used to better understand how existing medications work, and to rapidly screen for potential new treatments.
A third focus is early stage or ‘proof-of-concept’ clinical trials—the initial investigations in patients which might suggest that a treatment is safe and beneficial. The CQH is committed to re-imagining early stage trials from the ground up—from recruitment, to measurement of symptoms, to incorporation of biomarkers and use of more efficient study designs and statistical techniques. The overarching goal is to rapidly, efficiently, and above all safely bring promising new treatments into clinical investigation.
Finally, CQH is applying bioinformatics techniques to improve quality of care. Sophisticated data mining techniques and large clinical databases offer promising means of matching patients with treatments and monitoring their outcomes.
Roy Perlis, MD, MScDirector, Center for Quantitative HealthProfessor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical SchoolDr. Perlis is the director of the Center for Quantitative Health in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, the Associate Director of the Psychiatric Genetics Program in Mood and Anxiety Disorders, and Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
He also serves as consultant to the American Psychiatric Association's bipolar treatment guidelines workgroup.
A graduate of Brown University, Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health, he completed his residency, chief residency, and clinical/research fellowship at Mass General before joining the faculty.
Dr. Perlis' clinical work and research is focused on difficult-to-treat or treatment resistant mood disorders, including major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder. He has authored more than 125 articles reporting original research, as well as numerous book chapters and reviews.
Current research efforts include identifying genetic variations which might predict treatment response, creating neuronal models of disease, and identifying and studying novel treatments for mood disorders.
His research has been supported by awards from NARSAD, NIMH, NSF, the American Philosophical Society, the Bowman Family Foundation, and the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research, among others. In 2010 Dr. Perlis was awarded the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance's Klerman Young Investigator Award.
Leslie SnapperClinical Research Coordinator, Center for Quantitative HealthEducation: BS in psychology, Boston College Interests: Mental illness, neuroscience, art Hometown: Ashland, MA
Past training: Research assistant in the Arts and Mind Lab at Boston College (researching our perception of art based on information about the artist using survey and eye tracking methods), administrative assistant at Boston College Chemistry Department.
Hobbies: Weightlifting, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, martial arts, hiking, rock climbing, painting and drawing, reading and traveling.
Cristina Cusin, MD Staff Psychiatrist, Depression Clinical and Research Program, Massachusetts General Hospital Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
Maurizio Fava, MD Executive Vice Chair, Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital Director, Division of Clinical Research, Mass General Research Institute Executive Director, Clinical Trials Network and Institute (CTNI) Associate Dean for Clinical and Translational Research, Slater Family Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
Steve Haggarty, PhD Associate Investigator, Center for Genomic Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital Associate Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School
Tracey Petryshen, PhD Center for Genomic Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital Associate Professor of Psychology, Harvard Medical School Associate Member, Broad Institute Director, Harvard Catalyst ‘Omics Education Program
Joshua L. Roffman, MD, MMSc Co-Director for Psychiatric Neuroimaging, Massachusetts General Hospital Director of Research, Mass General Schizophrenia Clinical and Research Program Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
Jordan Smoller, MD, ScD Director, Psychiatric and Neurodevelopment Genetics Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital Co-Director, Genetics and Genomics Unit, Division of Clinical Research, Mass General Research Institute Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
Jennifer Wang, PhD Senior Research Scientist, Massachusetts General Hospital
Interested in participating in a research study? We are currently recruiting patients diagnosed with a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders, including depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.
Please call Leslie at 617-643-3105 or contact us by email to see if you might be eligible to participate in a study.
The purpose of this research study is to collect, process and store samples to do research on neuropsychiatric disorders. This research study looks at changes in the human body associated with neuropsychiatric disorders. Part of this study involves the collection of 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 neuropsychiatric disorders. In addition, the samples collected for this 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 contact us by email
Current and past CQH 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.
For a PubMed listing of Dr. Perlis' articles, please click here.
Perlis RH, Iosifescu DV, Castro VM, Murphy SN, Gainer VS, Minnier J, Cai T, Goryachev S, Zeng Q, Gallagher PJ, Fava M, Weilburg JB, Churchill SE, Kohane IS, Smoller JW. Using electronic medical records to enable large-scale studies in psychiatry: treatment resistant depression as a model. Psychol Med. 2011 Jun 20:1-10.
Gallagher PJ, Castro V, Fava M, Weilburg JB, Murphy SN, Gainer VS, Churchill SE, Kohane IS, Iosifescu DV, Smoller JW, Perlis RH. Antidepressant response in individuals with major depressive disorder exposed to NSAIDs: a pharmacovigilance study. Am J Psychiatry 2012;169:1065-1072.
Castro V, Gallagher PJ, Clements CC, Murphy SN, Gainer VS, Weilburg JB, Fava M, Churchill SE, Kohane IS, Smoller JW, Iosifescu DV, Perlis RH. Incident User Cohort Study of Risk for Gastrointestinal Bleed and Stroke in Individuals with Major Depressive Disorder Treated with Antidepressants. Brit Med J Open. 2012 Mar 30;2(2):e000544.
Perlis RH, Perlis CS. Physician payments from industry are associated with greater Medicare part D prescribing costs. PLoS One. 2016 May 16;11(5):e0155474.
Castro VM, Kong SW, Clements CC, Brady R, Kaimal AJ, Doyle AE, Robinson EB, Churchill SE, Kohane IS, Perlis RH. Absence of evidence for increase in risk for autism or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder following antidepressant exposure during pregnancy: a replication study. Transl Psychiatry. 2016 Jan 5;6:e708.
McCoy TH, Castro VM, Cagan A, Roberson AM, Kohane IS, Perlis RH. Sentiment measured in hospital discharge notes is associated with readmission and mortality risk: an electronic health record study. PLoS One. 2015 Aug 24;10(8):e0136341.
McCoy TH, Castro VM, Rosenfield HR, Cagan A, Kohane IS, Perlis RH. A clinical perspective on the relevance of research domain criteria in electronic health records. Am J Psychiatry. 2015 Apr;172(4):316-20.
McCoy TH Jr., Perlis RH. A tool to utilize adverse effect profiles to identify brain-active medications for repurposing. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2015 Feb 11;18(3).
Perlis RH. From bench to bedlam. Am J Psychiatry. 2014 Dec 1;171(12):1233-5.
Castro VM, McCoy TH, Cagan A, Rosenfield HR, Murphy SN, Churchill SE, Kohane IS, Perlis RH. Stratification of risk for hospital admissions for injury related to fall: cohort study. BMJ. 2014 Oct 24;349:g5863.
Wang JL, Shamah SM, Sun AX, Waldman ID, Haggarty SJ, Perlis RH. Label-free, live optical imaging of reprogrammed bipolar disorder patient-derived cells reveals a functional correlate of lithium responsiveness. Transl Psychiatry. 2014 Aug 26;4:e428.
Blumenthal SR, Castro VM, Clements CC, Rosenfield HR, Murphy SN, Fava M, Weilburg JB, Erb JL, Churchill SE, Kohane IS, Smoller JW, Perlis RH. An electronic health records study of long-term weight gain following antidepressant use. JAMA Psychiatry, 2014 Aug;71(8):889-96.
Perlis RH. A clinical risk stratification tool for predicting treatment resistance in major depressive disorder. Biol Psychiatry. 2013 Jul 1;74(1):7-14.
Castro VM, Clements CC, Murphy SN, Gainer VS, Fava M, Weilburg JB, Erb JL, Churchill SE, Kohane IS, Iosifescu DV, Smoller JW, Perlis RH. QT interval and antidepressant use: a cross sectional study of electronic health records. BMJ. 2013 Jan 29;346:f288.
Perlis RH, Iosifescu DV, Castro VM, Murphy SN, Gainer VS, Minnier J, Cai T, Goryachev S, Zeng Q, Gallagher PJ, Fava M, Weilburg JB, Churchill SE, Kohane IS, Smoller JW. Using electronic medical records to enable large-scale studies in psychiatry: treatment resistant depression as a model. Psychol Med. 2012 Jan;42(1):41-50.
Perlis RH. Betting on biomarkers. Am J Psychiatry. 2011 Mar;168(3):234-6.
Perlis RH, Uher R, Ostacher M, Goldberg JF, Trivedi MH, Rush AJ, Fava M. Association between bipolar spectrum features and treatment outcomes in outpatients with major depressive disorder. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2011 Apr;68(4):351-60.
Blood AJ, Iosifescu DV, Makris N, Perlis RH, Kennedy DN, Dougherty DD, Kim BW, Lee MJ, Wu S, Lee S, Calhoun J, Hodge SM, Fava M, Rosen BR, Smoller JW, Gasic GP, Breiter HC; Phenotype Genotype Project on Addiction and Mood Disorders. Microstructural abnormalities in subcortical reward circuitry of subjects with major depressive disorder. PLoS One. 2010 Nov 29;5(11):e13945.
Schosser A, Butler AW, Ising M, Perroud N, Uher R, Ng MY, Cohen-Woods S, Craddock N, Owen MJ, Korszun A, Jones L, Jones I, Gill M, Rice JP, Maier W, Mors O, Rietschel M, Lucae S, Binder EB, Preisig M, Perry J, Tozzi F, Muglia P, Aitchison KJ, Breen G, Craig IW, Farmer AE, Müller-Myhsok B, McGuffin P, Lewis CM. Genomewide association scan of suicidal thoughts and behaviour in major depression. PLoS One. 2011;6(7):e20690.
Perlis RH. Can single genes matter in a polygenic world? Biol Psychiatry. 2010 Nov 1;68(9):783-4.
Casamassima F, Hay AC, Benedetti A, Lattanzi L, Cassano GB, Perlis RH. L-type calcium channels and psychiatric disorders: A brief review. Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet. 2010 Dec 5;153B(8):1373-90.
Simon GE, Perlis RH. Personalized medicine for depression: can we match patients with treatments? Am J Psychiatry. 2010 Dec;167(12):1445-55.
Perlis RH, Ostacher MJ, Goldberg JF, Miklowitz DJ, Friedman E, Calabrese J, Thase ME, Sachs GS. Transition to mania during treatment of bipolar depression. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2010 Dec;35(13):2545-52.
Huang J, Perlis RH, Lee PH, Rush AJ, Fava M, Sachs GS, Lieberman J, Hamilton SP, Sullivan P, Sklar P, Purcell S, Smoller JW. Cross-disorder genomewide analysis of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression. Am J Psychiatry. 2010 Oct;167(10):1254-63.
Bogdan R, Perlis RH, Fagerness J, Pizzagalli DA. The impact of mineralocorticoid receptor ISO/VAL genotype (rs5522) and stress on reward learning. Genes Brain Behav. 2010 Aug;9(6):658-67.
Miller KK, Perlis RH, Papakostas GI, Mischoulon D, Losifescu DV, Brick DJ, Fava M. Low-dose transdermal testosterone augmentation therapy improves depression severity in women. CNS Spectr. 2009 Dec;14(12):688-94.
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