Happenings

Jonathan Flint (UCLA behavioral geneticist, expert in the genetic determinants of depression and Depression Grand Challenge Executive Committee team member) will present at the 10th annual Emerging Research Speaker Series and reception hosted by UCLA Staff Assembly. His talk, titled The Genetic Basis of Depression, will share how his research explores how genes influence behavior.

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Daniel Geschwind, professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and Xinshu (Grace) Xiao, UCLA’s Maria R. Ross professor of integrative biology and physiology, published research results revealing new clues about differences in the brain cells between people with autism and a control group. The focus of the study was RNA editing. Although difficult to know if it is causation or a result, the study found that people with autism had reduced editing.

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According to the California Department of Finance, the number of adults over 65 is expected to rise to 9 million by 2030 in California.  The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research recently published a study led by Janet C. Frank (faculty associate at the center) and co-authored by Kathryn G. Kietzman (research scientist at the center) that shows a gap will emerge between older adults needing behavioral health treatment and a health care workforce adequately trained to treat them.  The report provides policy strategies for policy makers, educators/license agreements, and safety net providers.

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On January 8, 2019, the UCLA Depression Grand Challenge (DGC) in partnership with the Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA hosted a TEDxUCLA Salon moderated by Dr. Michael Gitlin, distinguished professor of Clinical Psychiatry, and titled “Tackling Depression: Understanding, Preventing, and Treating the World’s Greatest Health Problem.” Nearly 200 guests attended the event which included a musical performance by UCLA alum and cellist, Ramin Abrams, and stories from speakers with personal connections to depression and anxiety, including what led them to work with the DGC or become involved in neuroscience research.

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An Associated Press article highlighted how universities and companies across the nation are developing smartphone technology to detect early signs of depression in younger generations. UCLA was amongst campuses highlighted in this sector overview.  The UCLA app referenced in the article is provided via the UCLA Depression Grand Challenge Screening and Treatment for Anxiety and Depression (STAND) program. STAND assesses whether students are experiencing symptoms of depression and offers immediate treatment options best fit for their needs.

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