Skip to content

Translation, Discovery and Collaboration in Psychiatry

In This Video

  • Researchers from the Department of Psychiatry discuss the clinical and translational work they are doing at Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Research teams are working collaboratively across specialties to improve clinicians' ability to diagnose, detect and treat psychiatric disorders
  • This collaborative approach improves patient care across psychiatric focus areas from sustained brain injuries in women who are abused, to the impact of marijuana use on the brain, to psychiatric disorders and more

Researchers from the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital discuss their clinical and translational research. By working collaboratively and leveraging cutting-edge evidence-based techniques along with the latest technology and large scale datasets, they are improving our ability to diagnose, detect and treat psychiatric disorders and serious complications of those disorders.


Joan Camprodon, MD, PhD, director of the Division of Neuropsychiatry: This is an amazing environment to do research, to do clinical work, but in particular, this an amazing environment to do translational, integrated work. So by designing a group, we don't have people carrying a clinician's hat or a scientists hat. We have a single hat, a clinician-scientist hat that's not an oddity in this environment.

Jordan Smoller, MD, ScD, director of the Psychiatric and Neurodevelopmental Genetics Unit, associate chief for Research in the Department of Psychiatry: The level of expertise and resources and commitment to discovery and translation is unlike anything I think I've seen elsewhere.

Eve Valera, PhD, researcher at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging: I was doing some work in a women's shelter, and so I was learning the stories of these women and women who say they've been thrown off porches or strangled into unconsciousness or head-butted. And to me, it seemed obvious. I was like, wow, these women must be sustaining brain injuries. And there wasn't a single paper addressing this topic, not one. Mass General people were very receptive to this idea of basically studying this population. They respect this question that I'm asking, that they understand the value of it.

Joshua L. Roffman, MD, MMSc, director of the Brain Genomics Laboratory, co-director of Psychiatric Neuroimaging, director of research for the Schizophrenia Clinical and Research Program, co-director of Mass General Neuroscience: We have so much overlapping expertise across these areas and so much interest in working together to solve these complex problems that I think we are uniquely well positioned to be able to approach them and to solve them in a way that no one else will be able to do.

Timothy Wilens, MD, chief of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, co-director of the Center for Addiction Medicine, director of Substance Abuse Services in Pediatric Psychopharmacology: It is a bit what Albert Einstein says, and that is, "With every difficulty lies opportunity." And the opportunity is, let's push patient care forward here. Let's come up with something innovative around the treatment of that.

Jordan Smoller, MD, ScD: Can we leverage large scale data that are now available in the realm of neuroscience, genomics, electronic health records to improve our ability to diagnose, detect and treat psychiatric disorders and serious complications of those disorders?

Jodi Gilman, PhD, director of neuroscience at the Center for Addiction Medicine: We're looking at frequent marijuana users and how they learn. And what we find is that if they stop using cannabis, they learn better immediately, within a week of stopping. And that's been really surprising to us, and I think it conveys an important public health message as well.

Joshua L. Roffman, MD, MMSc: By working together, not only do we help our own patients in psychiatry in terms of understanding the biology of their illness, developing markers for that biology and new treatment approaches, but we also have the ability to offer to our colleagues our way of thinking about the brain clinically that is holistic and comprehensive. And potentially, would bring things in that other disorders that tend to rely more on biological markers might be missing.

Explore psychiatry research at Mass General

Learn more about the Department of Psychiatry

Related topics


Joshua Roffman, MD, MMSc, discusses his recent work investigating folic acid’s potential neuroprotective effects that may guard against schizophrenia development.


Jodi Gilman, PhD, director of neuroscience at the Center for Addiction Medicine, discusses what her research has shown on the effects of marijuana in the teen brain and how those effects are dependent on the age at which a young person begins to use.