Srijan Sen, Ph.D., M.D., University of Michigan
Young Investigator Grant (2009): $85,000
Mentor: Margit Burmeister, Ph.D., University of Michigan
Investigation into the Role of Genes and Stress in Depression and Suicide among Medical Interns
Abstract: The first aim of this study is to identify the factors involved in the development of suicide-related outcomes (SROs) and other mood symptoms among medical interns. A second is to investigate the interactions between genes and stress in the development of suicide. Medical internship is a time of high stress, characterized by sleep deprivation, extreme emotional situations and long work hours. This study will assess baseline psychiatric symptoms in subjects prior to the start of internship duties and then follow these subjects through the course of the intern year for the development of SROs and other depressive symptoms. DNA samples will be collected to investigate the interactions between specific genes and stress in the development of SROs. This project will contribute to suicide prevention by increasing the awareness among training physicians of the risk of SROs and depression, both for themselves and for their patients. It will also help us to understand the pathophysiology underlying suicide and mood disturbances in order to clarify the underlying biological mechanisms that will lead to better identification and treatment of at risk patients.