Welcome to the Laboratory of Brain, Behavior, and Pharmacology at UCLA
The Laboratory of Brain, Behavior, and Pharmacology is dedicated to improving outcomes of treatment for psychiatric, neurologic, and other medical conditions by developing new methods to determine the most effective treatment for each individual patient. At LBBP we aim to translate biomarkers discovered in the research laboratory into clinical tests that could be used in a doctor’s office or a clinical setting to improve patient care.
The major focus of our work is Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). There are more than 20 highly effective antidepressants currently available to treat MDD, but the likelihood of a complete response to a single medication for an individual patient is only about 30%. Many patients, therefore, may suffer for months or years through a series of long and ineffective medication trials in an effort to obtain relief of their symptoms. Our results indicate that through monitoring of brain function before and during treatment, we can individualize treatment and select the medication that will most benefit a particular patient.
Other major lines of research include:
▪ Individualizing treatment for chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS)
▪ Identifying patients who are at greatest risk for treatment-emergent side-effects, including worsening of suicidal ideation with antidepressants
▪ Understanding how some patients improve during treatment without the use of medications (the so-called “placebo response”)
▪ Elucidating which brain areas are involved in regulating the response to treatment
▪ Speeding the development of new treatments for depression and other illnesses such as Alzheimer’s or Huntington’s disease, through the development of biomarkers for medication effectiveness