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Distinguished Scientist Lecture May 2, 2014, 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm WPIC Auditorium

Neurobiology of Stress, Depression, and Antidepressants:
Remodeling Synaptic Connections

Ronald S. Duman, PhD
Elizabeth Mears and House Jameson Professor of Psychiatry and
Professor of Neurobiology
Yale University School of Medicine
Director, Abraham Ribicoff Research Facilities







Studies from Dr. Duman’s laboratory have contributed to the characterization of the molecular and cellular actions of stress, depression, and antidepressant treatments, providing the basis for a neurotrophic hypothesis of depression.  Recent studies also demonstrate that the rapid antidepressant actions of NMDA receptor antagonists are dependent on synaptogenesis and new protein synthesis.  These findings represent major advances in our understanding of the effects of antidepressants and provide a framework for the development of novel therapeutic agents.  Dr. Duman has received several prestigious awards for his work, including the Anna-Monika Prize, the Nola Maddox Falcone Prize, the Janssen Prize for Research in Psychopharmacology, a NIMH MERIT Award, a NARSAD Distinguished Investigator Award, and the College of International Neuropsychopharmacology Basic Research Award.  He is author of over 300 original articles, reviews and chapters and has given over 200 invited lectures.

Learning Objectives.  At the end of the lecture, participates will be able to:

  1. Understand that the pathophysiology of stress related illnesses such as depression is associated with atrophy of neurons and decreased expression of neurotrophic factors, most notably brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).
  2. Describe the process by which the NMDA receptor antagonist ketamine, which produces rapid (within hours) antidepressant actions in treatment resistant patients, rapidly increases BDNF release and new spine synapse connections and reverses the atrophy caused by chronic stress.

Continuing Education Credit: The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine designates this educational activity for a maximum of 1.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits TM. Each physician should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Other health care professionals are awarded .15 continuing education units (CEUs), which are equal to 1.5 contact hours. In accordance with Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education requirements on disclosure, information about relationships of presenters with commercial interests (if any) will be included in materials which will be distributed at the time of the conference.  WPIC is approved by the American Psychological Association to offer continuing education for psychologists.  WPIC maintains responsibility for this program and its contents.  This program is being offered for 1.5 continuing education credits.

For more information on this lecture and other events, please contact Courtney Wallace at