Research infrastructures

The AMH Initiative benefits from a number of important infrastructures that enable research in translational psychiatry. In particular, the Douglas-Bell Canada Brain Bank (DBCBB), located at the Douglas Institute is one of the largest brain repositories in the world that contains brains from psychiatrically-characterized individuals. With an inventory of over 3,500 specimens, it distributes thousands of samples annually to qualified researchers throughout the world helping to advance fundamental research on mental illness.

Research programs

The AMH Initiative provides funding to support collaborative projects between McGill and MPIP researchers. These start-up funds are used towards activities for the pilot project, including trainee support and travel exchanges. Below is the list of funded collaborative projects that are currently in progress.

Large-scale integration of single-cell transcriptome data to assess symptom-based molecular markers spanning mental illnesses

This collaboration will generate one of the largest human single-cell datasets to date with data from diseased and neurotypical brains

Does insulin have a causal role in the relationship between early life adversity and altered executive function phenotypes?

This study will determine if ELA is critical for the causal association between fasting insulin and altered executive functioning phenotypes

miR-151a-5p in plasma brain-derived extracellular vesicles as a prognostic biomarker of differential response to antidepressant treatment

Studying the impact of early-life adversity on hippocampal oligodendrocytes and myelination: a translational study

The first comprehensive study of oligodendrocyte-lineage cells and myelination in the hippocampus of humans and mice exposed to ELA

Implementing deep learning tools to measure social behavior in male and female mice prior and following social defeat stress in adolescence

Application of deep learning tools will allow for more ethologically relevant study of adolescent social defeat stress on behaviour and dopamine signaling

Isolation of CNS-derived exosomes in the DetECT pilot study

The aim of this collaborative project is to characterize the temporal post-ECT dynamics of blood-based CNS-derived exosomes to deepen our understanding of immediate and delayed ECT-induced changes

Identifying a common biological response to early life adversity across distinct rodent models

Using this approach, this study will attempt to capture a shared response to stress that can discriminate those individuals who will respond differently to the ELA i.e., differentiate between resilient and vulnerable individuals

Investigating the role of microRNAs and isomiRs as biomarkers in psychiatric disorders

This project will apply a modified library preparation approach (developed in the Flores lab) to sequence miRNAs from blood obtained from 2 cohorts (BeCOME and OPTIMA) to further investigate circulating miRNA profiles in mental disorders

AMH postdoctoral fellowship program

Through this program, the AMH Initiative awarded funding to support trainees at the postdoctoral level. Congratulations to all award recipients and best of luck on their projects!

  • Reza Rahimian, PhD (PI: Mechawar), for his project entitled, Characterizing the innate immune response in the brain of depressed suicides who were victims of child abuse (2022)
  • Euclides José de Mendonça Filho, PhD (PI: Silveira), for his project entitled, Development and implementation of a pediatric battery of biological stress activation study (2022)
  • Radu G. Avramescu, MD (PI: Flores), for his project entitled, Translational investigation of molecular markers and mediators of vulnerability to adverse experiences in adolescence study (2023)
  • Patrícia Maidana Miguel, PhD (PI: Silveira), for her project entitled, Childhood adversity and the susceptibility to adult physical and mental health problems – a genome-wide environment interaction study (2023)
  • Badr Ait Hammou, PhD (PI: Bzdok), for his project entitled, Exploring LLM-enabled data augmentation and label generation to revisit human consciousness (2023)