An overview of the Depression Grand Challenge human studies demonstration projects that are underway

December 5, 2016

At the center of the Depression Grand Challenge (DGC) is a 10-year “100K Study,” in which researchers will monitor 100,000 people with the aim of identifying the genetic and environmental causes of depression.

The 100K Study will screen for depression, analyze participants’ genetics, measure early adversity and life stress and assess symptoms through remote monitoring using cell phones and wearable devices. In preparation for each of the facets of the 100K Study, demonstration projects are underway. Each demonstration study involves human participants. Explore the Guide to human studies demonstration projects to learn more about current and anticipated studies.

The Screening & Longitudinal Assessment study investigates ways to effectively screen and monitor individuals with depression. UCLA staff will be screened for current and past depression, and eligible staff will be invited to complete the 6-month longitudinal study which will measure mood symptoms via app technology. This demonstration project enables the DGC to practice implementing scalable techniques for screening and monitoring depression that will be utilized for the 100K Study.

The Migraine & Depression study allows the DGC to investigate the co-occurrence of depression and migraine symptoms. In order to learn about the underlying mechanisms of this comorbidity, patients will be monitored via wearable devices and app technology. This demonstration project also gives the DGC experience conducting research using the UCLA Health System, which will help the DGC navigate this system during the 100K study.

The Biomarkers study hones in on treatment-resistant depression and evaluates three fast-acting treatment interventions. By studying fast-acting treatment interventions, the DGC hopes to understand the neurobiological mechanisms that predict a positive response to treatment. This will enable the DGC to develop treatment strategies that will benefit more people.

The Tiered Treatment studies allow the DGC to practice implementing a tiered treatment plan for depressed patients dependent on severity of depression symptoms. Additionally, this demonstration project will engage UCLA staff and students in order to test the effectiveness of internet-based cognitive-behavioral therapy (iCBT) over the course of 8 weeks. This internet-based treatment will be tested for both scalability and effectiveness.


– Learn more about the series of studies being conducted by the UCLA Depression Grand Challenge (DGC) .

– Please refer to previous coverage on the Biomarkers study and how to express interest in participating.


This article was written and the linked table created by UCLA Student/Depression Grand Challenge Student Worker, Emilia Szmyrgala.