Mood Disorders Research Program

The Mood Disorders Research Program, under the direction of Dr. Rif El-Mallakh, pursues basic and clinical research in the major mood disorders, focusing on bipolar illness. Most basic research projects focus on mood-state-related abnormalities in nerve or membrane function. Studies include: transmembrane potential changes in Lymphocytes and Lymphoblasts, nerve conduction velocity determinations, measurement of endogenous digoxin-like compounds, determination of sodium pump isoform expression in brains of bipolar patients, and the development of an animal model for bipolar illness. Several clinical studies range from pharmacologic studies in acute mania, bipolar depression, and prophylaxis to genetic studies.

In addition to pharmaceutical company funding (from Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Glaxo-Wellcome) the program has NIMH funding for a genetics study. Our laboratory has been funded by NARSAD, Alliant, and The Gheens Foundation.

Education is a major focus of the program and residents and medical students perform elective research projects. Graduate students in basic science departments have performed their research work in our laboratory. The Mood Disorders Research Program sponsors an annual September bipolar symposium for physician continuing medical education.

The Bipolar Clinic at the UofL HealthCare Outpatient Center provides evaluation and a wide array of psychiatric services to bipolar patients and their families.