Pipeline Exits

New depression biomarker enables clinical trial in precision therapies

Experimental Human Biology
Clinical Translational Research Unit (CTRU)
Small Molecule
α2A adrenergic receptor
Nonprofit scaling partner

About the Project

The Williams laboratory in the Center for Precision Mental Health and Wellness has developed a novel functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) measurement method to quantify activity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex of the human brain, and have also established a correlation between this fMRI measurement and the occurrence of a cognitive subtype of major depressive disorder. With funding from the IMA, Dr. Williams evaluated 30 patients designed to evaluate whether the fMRI biomarker can predict responsiveness to immediate release guanfacine, a selective α2A adrenergic receptor agonist for patients with the cognitive subtype of major depressive disorder. Williams and team recently received a U01 from the NIH to further define depression’s cognitive subtypes and create tools for physicians to diagnose and treat patients. IMA support was integral to this success. 


Leanne Williams

Principal Investigator

Jenna Bollyky

Scientific Director

Jason Pellman

Program Manager