Fractionating the functions of primate ventromedial prefrontal cortex of relevance to depression


  • Prof Angela Roberts

    University of Cambridge

Project summary

Depression has a lifetime prevalence of 16 per cent and is the single most important contributor to the total European disease burden. Unfortunately, the current range of treatments is relatively restricted and their success is limited and variable because of the marked individual differences in symptoms and the varied reasons why someone may become depressed. Depressed patients have marked changes in activity in a brain area called the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, but whether these alterations are a cause of depression or a compensatory change is unclear. Thus, the goal of Professor Roberts's research is to identify the different functions of distinct regions within the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and associated brain circuitry and determine how they relate to different symptoms of depression, and how they are modulated by existing drug therapies. Not only will this allow existing therapies to be targeted more effectively, but it will also help discover new therapies and guide personalised treatment strategies.