On the Neurobiology of Suicidal Behavior: From Clinical to Biological Phenotyping


On the Neurobiology of Suicidal Behavior: From Clinical to Biological Phenotyping

Nadine Melhem, PhD Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Our Meet the PI lecture series continues with a presentation by Nadine Melhem, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, an expert in psychiatric epidemiology and statistical genetics.

Dr. Melhem's research focuses on studying the neurobiology of stress response and suicidal behavior across the spectrum of psychopathology. Dr. Melhem’s work identified parental history of suicidal behavior as a predictor for suicide attempt in offspring, the role of impulsive aggression in the familial transmission of suicidal behavior, and the role of the severity and variability of depression symptoms in predicting suicide attempt. Her work resulted in the development of a risk score for the prediction of suicidal behavior. She has also characterized the psychiatric impact of parental death from suicide on children and families and the phenomenology of grief in children resulting in the development of a measure and screen to assess prolonged grief in children, which have been translated to several languages and are widely used in clinical and research settings. Her work is the first to show blunted cortisol responses to stress in suicide attempters compared to other high-risk groups with psychopathology. Dr. Melhem has also studied the genetics of several brain and neuropsychiatric phenotypes. She is the Principal Investigator of three NIMH R01 studies investigating biomarkers in the HPA axis and inflammatory pathways in suicidal behavior and maladaptive stress responses, PET imaging biomarkers for risk and resilience for suicidal behavior, and a Standard-Linked Grant from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) to study the role of neuroinflammation in suicidal behavior. In addition, she is the recipient of a Young Investigator Award from AFSP, a postdoctoral fellowship from the Klingenstein Third Generation Foundation in child and adolescent depression, and twice the recipient of a Young Investigator Award from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation.  

Date & Time. December 6, 2019, 12:00pm to 1:30pm

Location. UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital Auditorium

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this lecture participants will be able to:

  1. Discuss the prediction problem for suicidal behavior and important clinical predictors in high-risk individuals.

  2. Explain about peripheral biological markers in the stress response pathways to improve the prediction of suicidal behavior.

  3. Analyze the relationships between peripheral stress response markers and 5-HT1A receptor PET imaging markers in risk and resilient individuals.

For More information. Please contact Frances Patrick at patrickfm@upmc.edu.

The entirety of this program will be a lecture by the speaker(s). All individuals able to control the content of this educational activity are required to disclose all relevant financial relationships with any proprietary entity producing, marketing, re-selling, or distributing health care goods or services, used on, or consumed by, patients. Registration is not required for this event. This event is free and there will be no refunds. The University of Pittsburgh is an affirmative action, equal opportunity institution.
Continuing Education Credit:  The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.  The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine designates this educational activity for a maximum of 1.5 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM.  Each physician should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.  Other health care professionals are awarded .15 continuing education units (CEUs), which are equal to 1.5 contact hours.  In accordance with Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education requirements on disclosure, information about relationships of presenters with commercial interests (if any) will be included in materials which will be distributed at the time of the conference.  WPH is approved by the American Psychological Association to offer continuing education for psychologists.  WPH maintains responsibility for this program and its contents.  This program is being offered for 1.5 continuing education credits.
The indicated number of clock hours of continuing education is provided through UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital’s Office of Educational Resources and Planning, a PA-approved provider of social work continuing education in accordance with all the applicable educational and professional standards of the Pennsylvania State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapist.  These clock hours satisfy requirements for LSW/LCSW, LPC and LMFT renewal.  For more information, call (412) 204-9085.