Searching for Biomarkers of Stress-Related Mental Illness and Suicidality

Tuesday, July 9, 2019, 2:00 pm EDT
Meet the Scientist - July 2019

Suicidal ideation and suicide attempts are important precursors to death by suicide. They occur much more often than completed suicides, yet relatively little is known about their pathophysiology. This is especially so in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). There is evidence that trauma and stress impair connectivity in the brain yet there is a specific need for neurobiologically-based studies of suicidal ideation and attempts in individuals with PTSD. Dr. Averill’s current work aims to identify biomarkers of suicidal ideation and attempts, to inform the development of new medicines and other interventions, which could alleviate the suffering of millions struggling with suicidality.

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Presented by 
Lynnette A. Averill, Ph.D.
Lynnette A. Averill, Ph.D.
Yale University

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry

2015 Young Investigator Grant

Dr. Lynnette Averill is experienced in translational clinical neuroscience, and is an expert in the evaluation of neurocognitive symptoms and the clinical assessment and treatment of PTSD, suicidality, and other trauma- and stress-related psychopathology. Her work focuses on pharmacoimaging trials evaluating rapid-acting glutamatergic-based drugs (e.g., ketamine) on reductions in suicidal ideation and cognitive function and the neural underpinnings (e.g., synaptic connectivity) of these behavioral changes.

Moderated by 
Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D.
Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

President and CEO

Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D., serves as the President & CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, the largest private funder of mental health research grants. Dr. Borenstein developed the Emmy Award-nominated public television program “Healthy Minds,” and serves as host of the series. The program, which is broadcast nationwide, focuses on topics in psychiatry in order to educate the public, reduce stigma and offer a message of hope. Dr. Borenstein also serves as Editor-in-Chief of Psychiatric News, the newspaper of the American Psychiatric Association and as an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.