Developing New Treatments for Mania Using Brain-Based Risk Markers

Tuesday, November 9, 2021
Developing New Treatments for Mania Using Brain-Based Risk Markers

Bipolar Disorder is a severe and often disabling disorder that is difficult to diagnose, and is also difficult to treat effectively, as many of the treatments that are currently available cause intolerable side effects. The latter is especially true of several of the medications that are used to treat mania, a key symptom of the disorder. My talk will demonstrate how advances in brain imaging research in sufferers of Bipolar Disorder and in adolescents and young adults at future risk of the disorder can identify brain-based markers to aid earlier diagnosis, and provide brain-based targets to help develop new brain stimulation treatments for the disorder that have fewer side effects than traditionally-used medications.

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Presented by 
Mary L. Phillips M.D., M.D. (Cantab)
Mary L. Phillips M.D., M.D. (Cantab)
University of Pittsburgh / Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic

Pittsburgh Foundation-Emmerling Endowed Chair in Psychotic Disorders

Professor in Psychiatry and Clinical Translational Science

Director of the Mood and Brain Laboratory, The Clinical and Translational Affective Neuroscience Program Department of Psychiatry, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, Pittsburgh, Pa

Scientific Council Member (Joined 2016)

2024 Distinguished Investigator Grant

2017 Colvin Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Mood Disorders Research

2005 Independent Investigator Grant


Mary L. Phillips is the Pittsburgh Foundation- Emmerling Endowed Chair in Psychotic Disorders, and Professor in Psychiatry and Clinical and Translational Science in the University of Pittsburgh. She heads the Clinical and Translational Affective Neuroscience Program in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Phillips trained in Medicine at Cambridge University, UK, and in Psychiatry at the Maudsley Hospital and the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, University of London, UK.

Dr. Phillips’ research focuses on using neuroimaging techniques to discover functional and structural abnormalities in brain circuits for emotion processing and regulation and reward processing that are associated with specific psychiatric disorders. Her research also focuses on identifying the neurodevelopmental trajectories in these circuitries that are associated with the development of such disorders in youth and infants, and the extent to which these neuroimaging techniques can identify biomarkers reflecting underlying processes that may increase the future risk for these disorders in as yet unaffected youth. Her more recent work examines how neuromodulation techniques can be targeted on identified neural biomarkers of mood disorders, as a step toward developing new interventions for individuals with these disorders.

In 2017, Dr. Phillips became President Elect of the Society of Biological Psychiatry. She has served on the Membership Committee of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, and on Program Committees of both the Society of Biological Psychiatry and the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, the latter of which awarded her the Joel Elkes Research Prize in 2014. She has mentored over 60 junior investigators, and has authored or co-authored more than 300 publications.

Prizewinner Video:


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

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-nominated public television program “Healthy Minds,” and serves as host and executive producer of the series. The program, broadcast nationwide, is available online, and focuses on topics in psychiatry in order to educate the public, reduce stigma and offer a message of hope. Dr. Borenstein served as Editor-in-Chief of Psychiatric News, the newspaper of the American Psychiatric Association from 2012 - 2023.

Dr. Borenstein is a Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine and serves as the Chair of the Section of Psychiatry at the Academy. He also has served as the President of the New York State Psychiatric Association. Dr. Borenstein earned his undergraduate degree at Harvard and his medical degree at New York University.