Dr. Martin Alda, Professor of Psychiatry, expert in mood disorders and in psychiatric genetics, is exploring the genetic and biological basis of mood disorders and the nature of response to long-term treatment. Dr. Alda graduated from Charles University in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Prior to joining Dalhousie University, Dr. Alda taught and practiced psychiatry in Czechoslovakia, at the University of Ottawa, and at McGill University where he held the Canada Research Chair. He is an adjunct professor at McGill University, The University of Pittsburgh, and at Charles University in Prague. Clinically Dr. Alda works in the Mood Disorders Program at the QEII Health Sciences Centre in Halifax.

The focus of Dr. Alda’s group is on major psychiatric disorders and their genetics. Bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and depression are all highly heritable, affect young people, lead to high morbidity and mortality, and can be more or less successfully treated. Three lines of enquiry – mapping genes for these conditions, linking the genetic predisposition with response to treatment, and examining how the genetic risk translates into behavioural and clinical features of the illness are at the core of the research program. To this end they use clinical, molecular-genetic, biochemical, brain-imaging, and neuropsychological methods in studies of patients and their family members.

Dr. Alda’s research has been funded by the CIHR since 1997 and also supported byGenome Quebec, Stanley Medical Research Foundation, National Alliance for Research in Schizophrenia and Affective Disorders (NARSAD) among others.

Dr. Alda has published over 240 original papers and book chapters, and serves on editorial boards of several journals (Bipolar Disorders, International Journal of Bipolar Disorders, Pharmacopsychiatry, and Psychiatrie). He is a member of several scientific organizations including the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, European College of Neuropsychopharmacology, American Society for Human Genetics, International Society for Psychiatric Genetics, Canadian College of Neuropsychopharmacology, the International Group for the Study of Lithium Treated Patients (IGSLi) and the ConLiGen consortium. Dr. Alda received the NCDEU Young Investigator Award from the US-based National Institute of Mental Health, the Independent Investigator Award from NARSAD, and Douglas Utting Award for research in mood disorders.

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