Take a look below and what the lab is working on.

ALSO, take a look at some current studies Dr. Jeremy Stewart and the QuERBY lab are involved in!

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Towards Identification of Behavioral and Neural Predictors of Adolescent Suicidality

[Principle Investigator: Dr. Jeremy Stewart and the QuERBY Lab]


The goal of this study is identify novel markers of suicidal thoughts and behaviours (STBs) among hospitalized depressed adolescents. Given that interpersonal rejection (e.g., being bullied) frequently precipitates suicidal behaviour in youth, we were especially interested in examining behavioural and neural responses to acceptance and rejection from same-aged peers. To quantify neural responses to peer feedback, we use a technique called electroencephalography (EEG) that captures small changes in electrical voltage on the scalp to make inferences about cortical activity in the brain. We are comparing these responses in youth with and without a lifetime history of suicide attempts and are testing whether we can use these to predict outcomes after hospital discharge.


Enrollment closed. Research was conducted at McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Funding: (All funding awarded to Dr. Stewart).

  • American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

  • Brain and Behavior Research Foundation

  • Kaplen Fellowship on Depression and Livingston Fellowship Awards (Harvard Medical School)

  • Pope-Hintz Endowed Fellowship Award (McLean Hospital)



Towards Identification of Neural Predictors of Adolescent Depression

[Collaborators: Dr. Jeremy Stewart and the QuERBY Lab]


Children of depressed parents are substantial more likely develop depression themselves than children of never-depressed parents. In this project directed by Dr. Randy P. Auerbach, non-depressed low-risk and high-risk (i.e., with a maternal history of major depressive disorder) adolescents aged 12-14 years complete a comprehensive assessment using state-of-the-art brain imaging techniques (e.g., EEG; functional magnetic resonance imaging [fMRI]) to identify neural markers that may potentially predict the first onset of depression in mid-adolescence. The study will particularly examine how potential neural vulnerabilities interact with, or are triggered, by major life stressors assessed repeatedly using a gold-standard interview procedure (the Life Events and Difficulties Schedule [LEDS]). The QuERBY Lab is lending its expertise in life stress assessment to the project, providing LEDS training, as well as data coding and analysis.


Enrolling participants. Research is conducted at McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School

Funding: (All funding awarded to Dr. Randy P. Auerbach)

  • Klingenstein Third Generation Foundation

  • Dana Foundation: Clinical Neuroscience Research Grant

  • Tommy Fuss Fund



Neuroimaging Studies of Reward Processing in Depression

[Collaborators: Dr. Jeremy Stewart and the QuERBY Lab]


How we value, respond to, and process rewards is implicated in major depressive disorder. Particularly, reduced reward processing (i.e., less activity in brain regions sensitive to rewards) and a general lack of the ability to feel pleasure (i.e., anhedonia) are hallmark features of people with depression. This large-scale project directed by Dr. Diego Pizzagalli aims to identify to better characterize the neural underpinnings of anhedonia and reward processing deficits in depression, and examine how these neural vulnerability factors may change over time in response to major life stressors. This study involves extensive neuroimaging of a large group of non-depressed, formerly-depressed, and currently depressed adults repeatedly assessed over a year. Critically, major life stressors are assessed at two time points – 6 months and 12 months after baseline – to see if these contribute to worsening anhedonia and poorer functioning. The QuERBY Lab has provided training in the LEDS interview to support this study and is working with Dr. Pizzagalli’s group to code, process, and analyze major life stressors for the follow-up component of the study.


Open enrollment. Participant recruitment is ongoing at McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Funding: (All funding awarded to Dr. Diego A. Pizzagalli)

  • National Institute of Mental Health/NIH (2R01MH068376-12)