Center for Affective Neuroscience of Depression and Anxiety (CANDA)
Anxiety and depression are among the most common, costly, and impairing mental disorders. These conditions are increasingly understood in terms of fundamental disruptions of core neural systems related to emotion. Emerging evidence links depression and anxiety to abnormal sensitivity to reward and threat, respectively. Multiple neuroimaging methods are being leveraged to identify biomarkers of reward and threat that can predict both the course of the disorder and response to pharmacological and psychosocial treatments to determine what treatment works best for whom. Emotion-related neural circuitry is also studied in genetically modified animal models. Such studies can lead to the identification of abnormalities in brain function and, ultimately, into new therapies and testable models for human anxiety and depression.
However, these dialogues and connections often take place in different research centers and non-human animal research takes years to inform and impact experiments relevant to individuals suffering with anxiety and depression. The Center for Affective Neuroscience of Depression and Anxiety (CANDA) is a new multi-disciplinary group of scholars at Stony Brook University who work together on anxiety and depression – combining basic research in human affective neuroscience, psychopathology and treatment with animal models of these disorders. CANDA solidifies and extends existing expertise across the following disciplines: psychology, psychiatry, and neurobiology. Mutually-informative projects are conducted simultaneously across laboratories and results in one laboratory rapidly impacting research being conducted in others. Novel ideas, approaches, and projects result from this multi-disciplinary synergy.
Led by CANDA Director Greg Hajcak, PhD, who also serves as Director, Anxiety Disorders Clinic, CANDA has the potential to be transformative. Other key CANDA faculty include: Dan Klein, PhD, Professor, Clinical Psychology, Ramin Parsey, MD, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Psychiatry; Director of PET Research; Co-Director, Neurosciences Institute; and Lorna Role, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Neurobiology and Behavior; Co-Director, Neurosciences Institute. By leveraging the significant existing strengths in each of the three lead departments, CANDA intends to be a world-class center for translational research on the etiology, pathophysiology, and treatment of depressive and anxiety disorders.
Current studies include: