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Depression Summit for Researchers and Clinicians

Depression Summit for Researchers and Clinicians

Two-day Event for Depression Researchers and Clinicians

Presenters: Ray DePaulo, John Mann, Evonne Edwards, Lena Brundin, Jennifer Johnson, & Briana Mezuk


Monday, November 13

Welcome Reception at the Secchia Center

7:00pm – 9:00pm

MSU College of Human Medicine, 15 Michigan Street NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503


Tuesday, November 14

Pine Rest Depression Summit for Researchers

8:30 am – 4:30 pm (Registration begins at 8:00 am)

Pine Rest Postma Center, 300 68th St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49548


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Summit Description

“Depression Summit for Researchers and Clinicians” is intended to draw attention to the problem of depression, stimulate research at our centers, and attract support from philanthropists to help support our work.

Course Objectives

  • Identify the latest breakthroughs in depression research across the lifespan.
  • Review ongoing work on depressive disorders at Pine Rest/MSU, a new member of the NNDC.
  • Network with colleagues regionally who are engaged in depression research and practice.

Who Should Attend

Depression researchers and clinicians in and around Michigan, and donors to support a depression center of excellence at Pine Rest & Michigan State University.

Cost for both events: $30 General Admission. Cost includes Reception and Summit.

Continuing education credits are unavailable for this event.

Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services and Michigan State University College of Human Medicine jointly are an associate member of the National Network of Depression Centers (NNDC).

Presenters & Topics


J. Raymond DePaulo, Jr., MD

“NNDC’s Signature Goal:  Improving Outcomes for Patients with Depression and Bipolar Disorders

  • Chair, National Network of Depression Centers
  • University Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • Joint Faculty Appointment, Department of Mental Hygiene, Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • Co-Director, Johns Hopkins Mood Disorders Center, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Organized longitudinal clinical registries will be reviewed to understand why large collaborative studies are essential for progress in understanding the causes, and establishing effective treatments for depression and bipolar disorder. Patient care and research will be integrated and interactive.

J. John Mann, MD 

“Matching Antidepressant Action with the Pathophysiology of Major Depression”

  • Paul Janssen Professor of Translational neuroscience (in Psychiatry and in Radiology) at Columbia University
  • Director, Molecular Imaging and Neuropathology Division at the New York State Psychiatric Institute
  • Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and a Fellow of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology

Many patients do not respond to SSRIs and preliminary studies link the pathophysiology of major depression to clinical outcome and indicate the importance of biomarkers for personalized treatment of depression

Evonne Edwards, PhD 

“Big Data at Pine Rest: A Summary of Quality Improvement and Research Opportunities”

  • Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services, Grand Rapids, MI
  • Chair, Quality Improvement Committee, Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services
  • Program Evaluation, Data Analysis and Research Specialist, Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services

Since 2013, Pine Rest outpatient services have administered over 620,000 outcome measures in more than 300,000 sessions to over 40,000 patients. Dr. Edwards will discuss the process for implementing outcome measures across a large outpatient clinic network, including how barriers of these measures in a “real world” setting were addressed.

She will also present early trends in outcome measure scores over the course of psychotherapy and discuss the impact of this data on quality improvement projects and research at Pine Rest.

Lena Brundin, MD PhD

“Inflammatory Mechanisms in Suicidality and Peripartum Depression”

  • Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University
  • Associate Professor, Head of Laboratory of Behavioral Medicine, Van Andel Research Institute
  • Joint faculty appointment at Michigan State University and Van Andel Research Institute

A mounting number of studies report links between depression, suicidal behavior and inflammation. In our early research we found evidence of increased levels of cytokines, in particular IL-6, in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients who recently attempted suicide. We subsequently analyzed blood samples from a second cohort of suicide attempters, and found significantly elevated levels of TNF-alpha and IL-6. These changes distinguished the suicide attempters not only from healthy controls, but also from depressive subjects that did not display suicidal ideation or behavior.

In current research, we are trying to establish the downstream mechanisms by which inflammation affects emotion and behavior, and are studying an enzymatic pathway that is induced by inflammation. The kynurenine pathway breaks down tryptophan, forming several neuroactive metabolites along the way. Interestingly, we found that the NMDA-receptor agonist quinolinic acid, produced by the pathway, is increased to around 300% in the CSF of suicide attempters compared to healthy controls.

Jennifer Johnson, PhD

“Psychosocial Treatments for Major Depression in Justice-Involved Individuals”

  • Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology, Michigan State University
  • Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, Michigan State University
  • National Network of Depression Centers (NNDC), Women and Mood Disorders Working Group
  • Affiliated Faculty, Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights
  • C. S. Mott Endowed Professor of Public Health

Despite thousands of randomized controlled trials of treatments for individuals with major depression in the community (~150 published per year), Dr. Johnson’s small trial (n = 38) published in 2012 was the largest trial of any treatment (medication or psychosocial) for major depression in an incarcerated population at the time.  This may reflect societal ambivalence toward mental healthcare for offenders.

Dr. Johnson’s talk will review results from the 2012 trial, talk about the policy context of mental healthcare in correctional settings, and present new results from the first large randomized trial: an effectiveness study of interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) for major depression in 180 men and women in prison.

Briana Mezuk, PhD

“Depression and Frailty:  Separating the Signal from the Noise”

  • Associate Professor, Center for Social Epidemiology and Population Health, Department of Epidemiology, University of Michigan School of Public Health
  • Research Associate Professor, Research Center for Group Dynamics, University of Michigan Institute for Social Research
  • Adjunct Faculty Affiliate, Division of Epidemiology, Department of Family Medicine and Population Health, Virginia Commonwealth University

Late life depression often co-occurs with frailty, however the factors that drive this correlation are not established. Depression and frailty may be related through a bi-directional feedback loop, or may be alternate manifestations of the same underlying processes or vulnerabilities that accumulate with age. It may also be that late-life depression and frailty are simply measuring the same physiologic processes under different diagnostic labels. Scientific efforts to resolve these competing explanations are complicated by the lack of consensus regarding the definition of frailty syndrome itself.

This talk will illustrate how the ways we conceptualize and measure frailty and depression impact our understanding of the etiology and potential interventions to address these conditions in later life. Specific questions that will be addressed include: What is the clinical relevance of symptoms shared between depression and frailty, such as weight change and fatigue? and How does accounting for depression change our understanding of the clinical consequences of frailty?



8:00 – 8:30am Registration
8:30 – 9:00am Welcome and Introductions to Pine Rest
9:00  – 10:15am Tours of Pine Rest
10:15 – 10:30am Break
10:30 – 11:00am Big Data at Pine Rest: A Summary of Quality Improvement and Research Opportunities

Presenter:  Evonne Edwards, PhD

11:00 – 11:30am Inflammatory Mechanisms in Suicidality and Peripartum Depression                         

Presenter:  Lena Brundin, MD, PhD

11:30 – Noon Psychosocial Treatments for Major Depression in Justice-Involved Individuals

Presenter: Jennifer Johnson, PhD

Noon – 1:00pm Lunch with Round Table discussions:  Older Adult, Biomarkers, Novel Therapeutics, Clinical Trials, Health Services Research, Treatment Resistant Depression, and Bipolar Depression
1:00 – 2:00pm Keynote #1:  Matching Antidepressant Action with the Pathophysiology of Major Depression      

Presenter:  J. John Mann, MD

2:00 – 2:30pm Depression and Frailty:  Separating the Signal from the Noise                                   

Presenter:  Briana Mezuk, PhD

2:30 – 2:45pm Break
2:45 – 3:45pm Keynote #2:  NNDC’s Signature Goal:  Improving Outcomes for Patients with Depression and Bipolar Disorder  

Presenter:  J. Raymond DePaulo, Jr., MD

3:45 – 4:30pm Wrap-up Panel:  Summarizing Highlights of the Day

Lena Brundin, MD, Eric Achtyes, MD, Briana Mezuk, PhD, and Evonne Edwards, PhD, and Melvin McInnis, MD

Overnight Accommodations:

Holiday Inn Express

Hyatt Place Grand Rapids South

Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services

300 – 68th Street SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49548