Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Asher Center for the Study and Treatment of Depressive Disorders

Genetics and Neurobiology of Stress and Depression

We study the environmental and genetic contribution to vulnerability to chronic stress and depression. Our projects investigate; a) how environmental insult in utero affects the adult organism’s metabolic function, cognitive and affective behavior; b) how this early environmental insult alters epigenetic processes including imprinting of specific genes in the brain of the developing fetus and the adult; c) genes that differ in their expression or their sequence between subjects that are vulnerable or resilient to stress, and d) genes that differ in their expression or their sequence between subjects with and without depression. The latter two projects have translational research potential with the goal of identifying blood biomarkers for stress reactivity and resilience and blood biomarkers for depression in humans. The laboratory has developed unique animal models of depression and passive coping, which animal models have been essential in the identification of biological markers and the elucidation of their roles in the etiology of these states. We employ genetic, molecular biological, biochemical and behavioral techniques. The ultimate goal of the laboratory is to identify the genes and mechanisms that contribute to the variation in stress vulnerability and depression, and to develop diagnostic tests for stress reactivity and depression.

Our Success


Grants and Funding

National Institute of Mental Health
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Stein Endowment
Davee Foundation

Lab Members

Evan Graf, PhD
Kathryn Harper, PhD

Contact Us

Contact Eva E. Redei, PhD, for more information about the Genetics and Neurobiology of Stress and Depression.

Principal Investigators

Eva E. Redei, PhD
David Lawrence Stein, Professor