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Diane Goldman Kemper Family Professor of Epidemiology in Psychiatry
College of Physicians and Surgeons and Mailman School of Public Health
Columbia University

Chief, Division of Epidemiology
New York State Psychiatric Institute

1051 Riverside Drive, Unit 24
New York, NY 10032
646-774-6427
Weissman@nyspi.columbia.edu

Faculty Profile

Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Weissman is a Professor of Epidemiology in Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and Chief of the Division of Epidemiology at New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI). She is a member of the Sackler Institute for Developmental Psychobiology at Columbia. Until 1987, she was a Professor of Psychiatry and Epidemiology at Yale University School of Medicine and Director of the Depression Research Unit. She has been a Visiting Senior Scholar at the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C. She received a Ph.D. in epidemiology from Yale University School of Medicine in 1974.

Her research is on understanding the rates and risks of mood and anxiety disorders using methods of epidemiology, genetics, neuroimaging, and the application of these findings to develop and test empirically based treatments and preventive intervention. Her current Interest is in bringing psychiatric epidemiology closer to translational studies in the neurosciences and genetics. She directs a 3-generation study of families at high and low risk for depression who have been studied clinically for over 25 years and who are participating in genetic and imaging studies. She directs a multi-center study to determine the impact of maternal remission from depression on offspring. She is one of the PIs in a multi-centered study to find biomarkers of response to the treatment of depression. She was one of the developers of Interpersonal Psychotherapy, an evidenced-based treatment for depression.

Dr. Weissman has been a consultant to many private and public agencies, and is a member of the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Science.   She has been the author or a co-author of over 600 scientific articles and chapters, and 11 books. She has been the recipient of numerous grants from NIMH, NARSAD Senior Investigators Awards; grants from other private foundations and numerous awards for his research. She is on the editorial board in many journals including JAMA Psychiatry, Biological Psychiatry and Depression & Anxiety.

In April 2009, she was selected by the American College of Epidemiology as 1 of 10 epidemiologists in the United States who has had a major impact on public policy and public health. The summary of her work on depression appears in a special issue of the Annals of Epidemiology, Triumphs in Epidemiology.

Select Publications

Coming soon.

Grants
  • 5 R01 MH036197-28 (Weissman) 07/01/10 – 01/31/16 (NCE)

    (NIMH)

    Children at High and Low Risk for Depression; in this 6th wave we will gain a deeper understanding of the right hemisphere abnormalities in familial MDD in the 216 individuals imaged thus far. This represents the largest MRI study published for MDD to date, and it is the only sample studying 3 generations of individuals at high or low risk for MDD. We will collect additional MRI and EEG measures, as well as clinical and cognitive neuroscience data, that will inform us about the neural bases of the right hemisphere thinning and their consequences for brain function and emotional processing. We will also determine whether additional cortical thinning in the left cerebral hemisphere predicts new or recurrent MDD in those people who were imaged in Wave 5.

    Role: Principal Investigator

  • Templeton Foundation #14918 (Weissman) 01/01/10 – 11/15/15 (NCE)

    Understanding the Role of Belief in the Resilience of Families at Risk for Depression: Religion, Brain Structure, and Genetics; a study linking 3 areas of research: beliefs, brain structure and function, and genetic endowment. The overarching goals of the proposal are (1) to extend original observations about the protective effects of belief and determine the stability of the findings, and (2) to integrate the clinical and religious variables with brain structure and function, and genetic data in order to answer comprehensive questions about vulnerability and resilience to depression.

    Role: Principal Investigator

  • Templeton Foundation # 54679 (Weissman) 01/01/15 – 12/31/17

    Understanding the Role of Belief in the Resilience of Families at Risk for Depression: Religion, Brain Structure, and Genetics; this is a study linking 3 areas of research: beliefs, brain structure and function, and genetic endowment. The overarching goals of the proposal are (1) to extend original observations about the protective effects of belief and determine the stability of the findings, and (2) to integrate the clinical and religious variables with brain structure and function, and genetic data in order to answer comprehensive questions about vulnerability and resilience to depression.

    Role: Principal Investigator

  • 5 P50MH090966-05 (Gingrich) 09/01/10 – 04/30/16 (NCE)

    (NIH/NIMH)

    Silvio O. Conte Centers for Basic and Translational Mental Health Research: Serotonergic Modulation Influence on Structure, Function, and Behavior; several lines of evidence indicate that in species from rodents to humans, serotonin acts as a neural growth factor during early phases of brain maturation to influence brain structure, neurophysiology, and ultimately, behavior. Serotonin signaling can be affected by either genetic (5httlpr) or pharmacologic (SSRI, MAOI) variables during early life. We hypothesize that low-expressing 5httlpr variants of the serotonin transporter (SERT) and pharmacologic inhibition of SERT function produce similar effects on brain maturation and ultimately behavior and increase the risk for clinical diagnoses such as affective and anxiety-related disorders.

    Role: Co-Principal Investigator, Principal Investigator of Project 2

  • 5 U01 MH092250-04 (Weissman, Parsey, McGrath) 09/30/10 – 06/30/16

    (NIH/NIMH)

    Biosignatures of Treatment Remission in Major Depression; this study will examine multiple, carefully selected clinical and biological markers, using both existing state-of-the-art technologies as well as pioneering, innovative approaches. Evaluation of the usefulness of these markers in a carefully conducted clinical trial comparing an antidepressant to placebo will assist in developing a depression treatment response index (DTRI) to help clinicians match treatments to patients with MDD, resulting in timely selection of treatments best suited for individual patients and thus approaching personalized treatment.

    Role: Co-Principal Investigator

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