One in 10 Canadian adults suffers from a mood or anxiety disorder, such as bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder and schizophrenia. Dr. Ana Andreazza, Canada Research Chair in Molecular Pharmacology of Mood Disorders, aims to better understand the mechanisms that underlie these illnesses.
She and her research team are trying to determine the role that mitochondrial dysfunction plays in neurotransmission and psychiatric disorders. (Mitochondria are tiny structures inside cells that create energy.) To untangle this complex problem, Andreazza and her team are studying post-mortem brain samples from patients who suffered from bipolar disorder to determine the role that mitochondrial dysfunction and genetics play in neurotransmission. They are also identifying peripheral biomarkers that reflect the central causes of bipolar disorder. Ultimately, their findings could lead to new treatments for mood disorders.