Stress, Anxiety, Depression, and Suicide

Leader: Naguib Mechawar, PhD

For decades, research on stress and stress-related disorders has been one of the core strengths of the Douglas Research Centre. We  bring together a group of investigators who are exploring the nature and consequences of stress exposure during different stages of life. These investigators, who are spread across the Centre’s four divisions, use a wide range of approaches including (but not limited to) basic research with animal models and human tissue samples, and clinical and psychosocial research. By studying various dimensions of stress, resilience to stress and stress-related psychopathologies, their main objective is, ultimately, to improve prevention and treatment.


Research Program

The overarching goals of Stress, Anxiety, Depression, and Suicide​ are the following.

  1. Better understand the functional consequences of chronic stress and the nature of resilience at the cellular, molecular and behavioral levels.
  2. Identify the environmental and biological factors associated with vulnerability or resilience to chronic stress.
  3. Develop better evidence-based interventions and policies aimed at preventing and treating stress-related mental illnesses.

Primary researchers

Serge Beaulieu Serge Beaulieu

Bipolar Disorders Program

Marcelo Berlim Marcelo Berlim

Neuromodulation Research Clinic

Alain Brunet Alain Brunet

Impact of traumatic stress on mental health

Eduardo Chachamovich Eduardo Chachamovich

Social and clinical determinants of mental health in Aboriginal populations

Salah El-Mestikawy Salah El Mestikawy

Glutamatergic systems in normal and pathological brains

Marie-Claude Geoffroy

Longitudinal epidemiology of suicide and related mental disorders accross the lifespan and interventions to promote mental health

Anthony Gifuni
Bruno Giros

Pathophysiology of psychiatric disorders

Alain Gratton, PhD Alain Gratton

Neurobiology of stress

Naguib Mechawar, PhD Naguib Mechawar

Neuroanatomy of mood disorders and suicide

Corina Nagy

Neuromolecular and brain cell specific underpinnings of mood disorders

Massimiliano Orri

Understanding the risk factors for suicidal behaviour across the lifespan

Johanne Renaud Johanne Renaud

Youth suicide and suicidal behaviours

Stéphane Richard-Devantoy, MD, PhD Stéphane Richard-Devantoy

Cognitive control in elderly suicide

Joseph Rochford, PhD Joseph Rochford

Animal models, behavioral pharmacology, behavioural phenotyping

Gustavo Turecki

Suicide studies

Tak Pan Wong, PhD Tak Pan Wong

Glutamate synapses and psychiatric disorders

Associated researchers

Cecilia Flores

Adolescent brain development and susceptibility to psychopathology

Mimi Israel, MD, MSc Mimi Israel

Eating disorders

Suzanne King, PhD Suzanne King

Role of prenatal maternal stress in the development of psychopathology

Howard Steiger

Eating Disorders Program

Dominique Walker, PhD Claire-Dominique Walker

Early stress, maternal regulation and neuroendocrine development

Recent news


The Fonds de recherche du Québec - Santé has announced the recipients of salary and research awards.


Dr. Holly Carsley Memorial Award

Thanks to generous gifts from Dr. Holly Carsley's family and friends, the Douglas Institute Research Centre and the Douglas Institute Foundation are happy to announce this year's competition of the Dr. Holly Carsley Memorial Award to recognize the outstanding work of a Douglas Institute resident, postdoctoral fellow or Ph.D. student pursuing research in the area of depression and suicide. The goal of the Award is to stimulate young researchers to perform high quality research that has the potential to prevent depression and suicide, and improve diagnosis and treatment of depression.

Two prizes were awarded, worth $1,000 each:


Dr. Bruno Giros was awarded the 2022 Canadian College of Neuropsycho-pharmacology (CCNP) Heinz Lehmann Award, which is given out in recognition of outstanding contributions by a single individual in neuropsychopharmacology research in Canada. This year the award went out to recognize basic research in the field. As part of the award, Dr. Giros will participate in the CCNP Annual Meeting on October 27, 2022, to present his work at the Award Lecture.

Congratulations to Dr. Giros!


For more information.


Dr. Alain Brunet, featured in L'avenir nous appartient, on Télé-Québec.


Congratulations to all of our researchers whose projects were funded through CIHR's latest Project Grants competition!


Congratulations to Dr. Geoffroy, who was recently awarded a CIHR grant to study the effect of École à Ciel Ouvert (Open Sky School), a program that could potentially benefit the mental health of disadvantaged children in Quebec who’ve been affected by COVID-19!


The Douglas Research Centre is proud to announce that Drs. Gustavo Turecki and Michael Meaney have been named on the annual Highly Cited Researchers 2021 list from Clarivate.


On October 18, Dr. Gustavo Turecki was announced as a member of the US National Academy of Medicine. Although there were 100 new members named in 2021, he is one of only 10 international members named this year.

Election to the Academy recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service:


"Everybody’s got a brain, but very few of us know much about how it works. So to find out how brains do things like make memories, or what happens when they get sick, we’re on a quest to speak to scientists who work with brains for a living. We’re investigating healthy brains, dead brains, brains in jars… even the brains of TV-watching monkeys. For science! Join us on a journey down your auditory nerve to the body’s final frontier - the brain."

Playing with Marbles is a podcast produced by Brain Canada that interviews Canadian neuroscientists to explore how the brain works in health and in disease. It features Gustavo Turecki, among several McGill researchers.



We are very proud to announce that Dr. Gustavo Turecki was just named as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (RSC). Fellowship to the RSC is the highest academic honour in Canada and is awarded based on the recognition of an individual's scholarly excellence. The RSC is comprised of three academies: Arts, Humanities and Sciences, and its Fellowship includes over 2,400 Canadian scholars, who are leaders in their field and have made remarkable contributions in the arts, the humanities, the sciences, and Canadian public life.

“This year, the Royal Society of Canada welcomes an outstanding cohort of artists, scholars and scientists, all of whom have excelled in their respective disciplines and are a real credit to Canada,” says RSC President Jeremy McNeil.