About the initiative

Formalized in 2021 based on the strong, existing collaborations between the research institutions, the McGill-Douglas Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry International Collaborative Initiative in Adversity and Mental Health (AMH Initiative) is led by Gustavo Turecki at the Douglas Research Centre and McGill University, and Elisabeth Binder at Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry (MPIP). These two institutions have generated seminal findings that shape our understanding of how environmental stimuli act on brain and body function, and subsequently influence mental health. Collectively, their research programs show that individual differences in stress reactivity are defined by the quality of early-life experience. Both institutions have a strong translational psychiatry focus with a remarkable integration of basic and translational research. The Douglas Research Centre is home to an important post-mortem brain research facility, the Douglas-Bell Canada Brain Bank (DBCBB), enabling the translation of findings from rodent studies to the humans. At the MPIP, studies using various molecular approaches to dissect the mechanisms of gene x environment interactions have shown that the impact of early-life adversity is moderated by different genotypes. Combined complementary expertise of the two institutions would further discoveries and our understanding of how exposure to adversity increases the risk for psychiatric disorders and how this is biologically embedded

The Initiative aims to increase research capacity, advance discovery, and translate new knowledge in adversity and mental health based on three main research themes:

  1. Perinatal and developmental animal models of early-life stress
  2. Cellular models of adversity, including early-life stress
  3. Translational research focusing on large cohorts

Interested in joining the AMH Initiative?

Researchers and trainees working on any aspect of the impact of early-life adversity on mental health, and affiliated with either McGill University or the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry are welcome to join the AMH Initiative. For more information on how to become a member, please send a message to info@adversitymentalhealth.com