Gustavo Turecki

Human Neuroscience


F-3125, Frank B. Common Pavilion

6875 Boulevard LaSalle
Montréal, QC
H4H 1R3

(514) 761-6131

(514) 762-3023

Canada Research Chair in Major Depressive Disorder and Suicide - Tier 1

Scientific Director, Douglas Research Centre
Director, McGill Group for Suicide Studies, Douglas Research Centre
Co-Director, Douglas – Bell Canada Brain Bank (suicide studies), Douglas Research Centre
Head, Depressive Disorders Program, Douglas Mental Health University Institute
Chief of Psychiatry, CIUSSS Montreal West Island
Chair, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University
Associate Member, Department of Human Genetics, McGill University
Associate Member, Department of Neurology & Neurosurgery, McGill University
​Director, Réseau québécois sur le suicide, les troubles de l'humeur et les troubles associés (RQSHA)

Suicide studies

McGill Group for Suicide Studies (MGSS)
Attempted and completed suicides are major problems in our society, making the understanding, prevention, and treatment of suicidal behaviours a top priority. Individuals who suffer from major depression are especially at risk. Gustavo Turecki, MD, PhD, conducts studies to better understand the characteristics of these individuals, focusing on issues such as early development, personality traits and neurobiological factors, with particular attention to how the environment interacts with the genome to increase risk.

His studies address questions such as, "Why do some people who become depressed commit suicide while others with the same illness do not?" At a molecular level, he investigates the role of epigenetic risk factors, namely how life experience affects gene function and increases risk for suicidal behaviour. In June 2014, he and his team published a study showing that the levels of a tiny molecule, miR-1202 may provide a marker for depression and help detect individuals who are likely to respond to antidepressant treatment.

Gustavo Turecki is the director of the McGill Group for Suicide Studies (MGSS), a center comprising eleven independent investigators and carrying out multidisciplinary studies on suicide, including the study of biological, behavioral, clinical and psychosocial risk factors for suicide. The MGSS works with the Douglas – Bell Canada Brain Bank to provide tissue for postmortem studies on suicide and mental illnesses.

Gustavo Turecki is also the Head of the Depressive Disorders Program that offers superspecialized services to children and adults who are suffering from major depression and/or severe forms of other depressive disorders. It provides cutting-edge therapies to depressed patients and develops knowledge on major depression risk factors and treatment by integrating research projects into clinical practice.

    <li>Dumais A, Seguin M, Lalovic A, Lesage A, Chawky N, Roy M, Mann JJ, Benkelfat C, Turecki G*. Risk factors for suicide completion in major depression: a case-control study of impulsive and aggressive behaviors in males. Am J Psychiatry 2005;162:2116-24, 2005.</li>
    <li>McGowan P, Sasaki A, D&rsquo;Alessio ACD, Dymov S, Labont&eacute; B, Szyf M, Turecki G*, Meaney M*. Epigenetic regulation of the glucocorticoid receptor in human brain associates with childhood abuse. Nat Neurosci 2009;12(3):342-348.</li>
    <li>McGirr A, Alda M, S&eacute;guin M, Cabot S, Lesage A, Turecki G*. Familial aggregation of suicide explained by cluster B traits: a three-group family study of suicide controlling for major depressive disorder. Am J Psychiatry 2009;166(10):1124-34.</li>
    <li>Labont&eacute; B, Suderman M, Maussion G, Navaro L, Yerko V, Mahar I, Bureau A, Mechawar N, Szyf M, Meaney MJ, Turecki G. Genome-wide epigenetic regulation by early-life trauma. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2012 Jul;69(7):722-31. doi: 10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2011.2287. PMID: 22752237</li>
    <li>Turecki G*, Ernst C, Jollant F, Labont&eacute; B, Mechawar N. The neurodevelopmental origins of suicidal behavior. Trends Neurosci 2012;35(1):14-23.</li>
    <li>Labont&eacute; B, Suderman M, Maussion G, Lopez JP, Navarro-Sanchez L, Yerko V, Mechawar N, Szyf M, Meaney MJ &amp; Turecki G*. Genome-Wide Methylation Changes in the Brains of Suicide Completers. Am J Psychiatry 2013;170(5):511-520.</li>
    <li><span style="line-height: 1.6;">Lopez JP, Lim R, Cruceanu C, Crapper L, Fasano C, Labonte B, Maussion G, Yang JP, Yerko V, Vigneault E, El Mestikawy S, Mechawar N, Pavlidis P, Turecki G*. miR-1202 is a primate-specific and brain-enriched microRNA involved in major depression and antidepressant treatment. Nat Med 2014;20(7):764-8. </span></li>
    <li><span style="line-height: 1.6;">Turecki G. The molecular bases of the suicidal brain. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2014 Dec;15(12):802-16. doi: 10.1038/nrn3839. PMID: 25354482&nbsp;</span></li>
    <li>Cruceanu C, Tan PP, Rogic S, Lopez JP, Torres-Platas SG, Gigek CO, Alda M, Rouleau GA, Pavlidis P, Turecki G*. Transcriptome Sequencing of the Anterior Cingulate in Bipolar Disorder: Dysregulation of G Protein-Coupled Receptors. Am J Psychiatry 2015:appiajp201514101279. PMID: 26238605.</li>
    <li>Turecki G*, Brent DA. Suicide and suicidal behaviour. Lancet 2016;387(10024):1227-1239. PMID:26385066</li>

Gustavo Turecki has devoted his career to improving our understanding of major depression and suicide. Dr. Turecki is a Professor of Psychiatry at McGill University and an associate member of the Department of Human Genetics and Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery . He received his MD from UNIFESP, Brazil, where he also completed his psychiatry residency, and he obtained his PhD in Neuroscience from McGill University. He is the current Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at McGill, the director of the FRQS/FRQSC-funded Réseau québécois sur le suicide, les troubles de l’humeur et les troubles associés, and the founding director of the McGill Group for Suicide Studies (MGSS), a multidisciplinary group including the Quebec Suicide Brain Bank, with complementary expertise ranging from community intervention strategies to genomics and bioinformatics. As a clinician, Dr. Turecki also directs the Depressive Disorders Program at the Douglas Institute, which is aimed at providing highly specialized services to adults and youth who suffer from refractory and/or major depressive disorder.

Dr. Turecki has been an independent researcher since 2000, focusing his research on molecular mechanisms of depression and suicide. His laboratory has made important contributions to our understanding of biological processes underlying psychopathology, including the first report of brain methylation changes associated with early-life adversity (McGowan et al. Nat Neurosci 2009; 1,896 citations, as of April 2016). He has authored over 330 articles and 30 book chapters. Among these, several publications were in Nature and Nature-family journals, and 42 of his publications appeared in the top five journals in psychiatry (Molecular Psychiatry, American Journal of Psychiatry, Archives of General Psychiatry, and Biological Psychiatry). His work has been cited over 18,500 times. Dr. Turecki’s contributions to the field have been recognized through numerous awards, fellowships and salary awards.

1980 Rotary Foundation Award for Highest Standing
1981 Rotary Foundation Award for Highest Standing
1996 Collegium Internationale Neuro-Psychopharmacologicum, Rafaelsen Fellowship
2001 Michael Kaplan Investigator, NARSAD
2003 Young Investigator Award, Canadian College of Neuropsychopharmacology
2005 CIHR, Day on the Hill delegation
2005 William Dawson Chair, McGill University
2006 Distinguished Investigator Award, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
2007 André Dupont Award, Quebec Clinical Research Association
2007 Pfizer-DHRF Heinz Lehmann Award
2008 Exemplary Psychiatrist Award, AMI-Quebec
2008 NARSAD, Independent Investigator Award
2008 Research Award, Canadian Foundation for Suicide Prevention
2009 Distinguished Investigator Award, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
2009 Douglas Utting Award for significant contribution toward depression and suicide
2009 NARSAD Oxley Foundation Investigator Award
2009 Scientist of the year Award, Radio Canada/CBC
2009 Top 10 findings of the year, Quebec Science
2010 Brickell Visiting Professor Award, Columbia University
2010 Personnalité de la semaine, La Presse
2011 Feinberg lecture, Tel Aviv University
2012 Heinz Lehmann Award, CCNP
2012 Research Career Award, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
2014 Samarthji Lal Award, Graham Boeck Foundation & CIHR-INMHA
2014 Top 10 findings of the year, Quebec Science
2015 Joel Elkes Research Award, American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
2016 Prix Léo-Pariseau, ACFAS
2016 Canada Research Chair in Major Depressive Disorder and Suicide

Recent news

New international initiative to study early-life predictors of mental health disorders
New international initiative to study early-life predictors of mental health disorders
Launch of McGill-Douglas – Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry International Collaborative Initiative in Adversity and Mental Health
New international initiative to study early-life predictors of mental health disorders
De la dépression à la vitalité, Dr. Gustavo Turecki, ICI Première
Traiter la dépression
De la dépression à la vitalité
Brain Canada awards the Douglas-Bell Canada Brain Bank a nearly $2.14 M Platform Support Grant
Brain Canada Logo
Gustavo Turecki: Detective of the mind
Quatre millions pour le cerveau
Congratulations to the winners of the Hendlisz Awards! 
Dr. Gustavo Turecki and Dr. Michael Meaney among Clarivate's most highly cited researchers
McGill celebrates investigators named to Highly Cited Researchers 2020 List
Gustavo Turecki awarded the Colvin Prize from Brain & Behavior Research Foundation
Congratulations to Massimiliano Orri - NARSAD Young Investigator Award
Congratulations to Dr. Gustavo Turecki!
Le pic en santé mentale n'est pas atteint
Congratulations to the recipents of the Dr. Holly Carsley Memorial Awards and the Rémi Quirion Excellence Award
Inside the ‘red zone’ of Montreal’s Douglas Mental Health University Institute
Promising advance in depression research
Du soutien psychologique pour des travailleurs de la santé
Douglas Mental Health Institute in Montreal braces for impact of COVID-19
Q&A with Dr. Gustavo Turecki: COVID-19 and stress management
What Neurobiology Can Tell Us About Suicide
Congratulations to Drs. Naguib Mechawar and Gustavo Turecki
Dr. Gustavo Turecki and Dr. Naguib Mechawar
Gustavo Turecki awarded Margolese National Brain Disorders Prize
Dr. Gustavo Turecki appointed Chief of Psychiatry at Montréal West Island IUHSSC and Scientific Director of the Douglas Mental Health University Institute
Gustavo Turecki
A new molecular target identified in depression
«Un suicide toutes les huit heures» Dr Gustavo Turecki (Cités Nouvelles, Journal Metro)
«Prévention du suicide : Retrouver goût à a la vie» - Dr. Gustavo Turecki (La Presse+)
Research shows how child abuse affects brain wiring
McGill Group for Suicide Studies
Cette banque de 3000 cerveaux humains pourrait détenir la clé de la prévention du suicide - Dr Gustavo Turecki (Vice Media)
Profile of Gustavo Turecki in Le Monde
Gustavo Turecki - photo Le Monde
Gustavo Turecki, biologiste du suicide (Le Monde)
Une pensée pour la santé mentale de papa avec Dr Gustavo Turecki (
Alain Brunet receives an inaugural Principal’s Prizes in Public Outreach Through Media
Alain Brunet reçoit le prix de la Principale
Gustavo Turecki awarded a new Canada Research Chair
Gustavo Turecki wins the Léo-Pariseau prize from ACFAS
ACFAS 2016 prize winners
Gustavo Turecki named chair of the CIHR Advisory Board on Research Excellence, Policy and Ethics
Gustavo Turecki
Official inauguration of the Centre for translational research on Mood Disorders and Suicide
Les ministres Jacques Daoust, Gaétan Barette et le chercheur Naguib Mechawar
Research from the Flores lab shows teens’ brains make them more vulnerable to suicide

Recent publications