Hilary Blumberg, MD

John and Hope Furth Professor of Psychiatry and Professor in the Child Study Center and of Diagnostic Radiology; Director, Mood Disorders Research Program

Research Interests

Adolescent Psychiatry; Bipolar Disorder; Child Psychiatry; Depression; Psychiatry; Mood Disorders; Neuropsychiatry; Endophenotypes

Research Organizations

NIMH Research Training Program in Childhood-onset Neuropsychiatric Disorders

Psychiatry: Psychotherapy Development Center | Stress & Addiction Clinical Research Program | Women's Behavioral Health Research, Division of | Yale Mood Disorders Research Program

Research Summary

A focus of Dr. Blumberg's laboratory is the use of brain scanning techniques to elucidate the differences in brain circuitry that underlie mood disorders, and how these differences develop. The laboratory has identified differences in parts of the brain that are important in emotional regulation in bipolar disorder, including differences in the pattern of their development in the disorder. For example, the laboratory has identified amygdala differences that are present in adults with bipolar disorder and also in adolescents with bipolar disorder suggesting that these are features that appear early, at least by adolescence in the disorder. Differences in the ventral prefrontal cortex (a part of the brain that includes the orbitofrontal cortex, the part of the prefrontal cortex above the eyes) appear to progress over the course of adolescence in bipolar disorder. This suggests that early intervention might be able to prevent progression and help prognosis. Preliminary evidence suggests treatment may reverse some of the brain differences and may have the potential to prevent this progression.

The lab is working intensively on genetic and environmental factors that may contribute to the differences in development and that may point to new prevention and treatment strategies. Brain scanning techniques used in this work include structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study the size and shape of brain structures, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study how the parts of the brain function individually and as part of brain circuits, and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to study the connections between brain structures.

Specialized Terms: Adolescence; Bipolar Disorder; Brain; Depression; Development; Diffusion Tensor Imaging; Emotion; Endophenotype; Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Mania; Manic Depressive Disorder; Neuropsychiatry; Neuroscience; Women

Extensive Research Description

Dr. Blumberg is the Director of The Yale Mood Disorders Research Program (MDRP). The MDRP is dedicated to understanding the science of mood disorders, including bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness) and depression. The MDRP brings together a multi-disciplinary group of scientists from across the Yale campus in a highly collaborative research effort. The scientists use a wide variety of scientific methods to study how genetic and environmental factors affect the brain and lead to the development of mood disorders. Goals of the MDRP include the identification of biological markers for mood disorders and discovery of new treatment strategies. It is hoped that these research efforts will lead to new and improved methods for early detection and treatment, and someday prevention, of mood disorders.

  • MRI Brain Scanning Studies of Adolescents and Adults with Bipolar Disorder
  • MRI Brain Scanning Studies of Brain Development in Healthy Adolescents and Adults
  • MRI and Gene Studies of Genes and the Brain
  • MRI Study of Stress and the Brain in Adolescents and Adults
  • Study of Stress, the Brain and the Development of Depression in Adolescents
  • Study of Stress, the Brain and the Development of Substance Use Disorders in Adolescents

Selected Publications

Edit this profile

Contact Info

Hilary Blumberg, MD
Patient Care Locations
470 Congress Avenue
New Haven, CT 06519
Yale Psychiatry300 George Street, Ste 9th Floor
New Haven, CT 06511
Mailing Address
Suite 901
300 George St

New Haven, CT 06511

Mood Disorders Research Program