Happenings

Michelle Craske, PhD (psychology and psychiatry professor at UCLA and co-director of the Depression Grand Challenge) is the 128th recipient of the UCLA Academic Senate’s Faculty Research Lectureship for the 2019-2020 academic year. The award was first given in 1925 and recognizes distinguished faculty members for their outstanding records of accomplishment. Each recipient presents their scholarly research to the UCLA community.

The UCLA Depression Grand Challenge (DGC) submitted a proposal for funding titled UCLA Depression Grand Challenge (UCLA DGC): Humanizing and Destigmatizing Depression through the 2019 My LA2050 Grants Challenge sponsored by the Goldhirsh Foundation. The foundation will award a total of $1 million to ten organizations that have submitted plans on how to make Los Angeles a better place to: LEARN, CREATE, PLAY, CONNECT, and LIVE. UCLA needs to secure the top-10 most votes in the “LIVE” category to be eligible to win $100,000 to dedicate toward destigmatizing and humanizing depression. 

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A recent article by life science journalism outlet STAT features research by Michelle Craske, PhD (psychology and psychiatry professor at UCLA and co-director of the Depression Grand Challenge) on virtual reality as a treatment for anhedonia–an often overlooked symptom of depression that reflects a lack of ability to feel pleasure and joy. In her experiments, virtual reality is used to expose patients to pleasant scenarios, to retrain them to experience positive feelings.

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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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