This immense, multifaceted effort will cut the burden of depression in half by 2050 and eliminate it by the end of the century.

The largest depression study in history serves as a centerpiece for the Grand Challenge

  • A planned UCLA research study of 100,000 people will be critical for identifying genetic, biological, cognitive, social and environmental factors associated with depression.
  • This study will be led by Jonathan Flint, who recently joined UCLA from Oxford University. Previously, Dr. Flint led the largest study collected by a single group, which was the first to find a genetic link to depression.
  • The observations made in the patient study will inform the work going on in the laboratory, and vice versa. This concerted, collaborative effort will accelerate progress.

Uncovering the origins

  • To understand the basis of depression, the team will use a multidisciplinary approach, integrating basic brain science, genetics, social sciences and clinical research.
  • Currently, we do not understand what causes depression or makes someone vulnerable to it. As a result, everyone essentially receives the same treatment, which is often ineffective.
  • There is broad interest across campus in uncovering the origins of depression. Research teams have submitted 66 proposals for research questions to explore related to this Grand Challenge.

Diagnostic methods

  • New screening and treatment protocols will help mitigate the burden of depression.
  • These new protocols will be first implemented on the UCLA campus and on the patient population served by UCLA Health.

New treatments & interventions

  • New research will be conducted to develop more effective treatments for people with depression and interventions for those who are at high risk for depression.

Increasing understanding

  • Creative means to enhance public awareness about depression will be developed to help people understand the condition, recognize its symptoms and reduce the barriers to treatment.
  • Additional efforts will educate communities on how to recognize those at risk for depression and help them obtain the necessary tools and treatment.
  • Education will also help people with depression gain better access to care.