Robert D. Beech, PhD, MD

Assistant Professor of Psychiatry

Research Interests

Antidepressive Agents; Bipolar Disorder; Neurosciences; Psychiatry; Neurogenesis

Research Organizations

Psychiatry: Connecticut Mental Health Center | Molecular Psychiatry, Division of | Substance Abuse Research

Faculty Research

Office of Cooperative Research

Research Summary

Our laboratory is interested in the roles of transcription factors and adult neurogenesis in the neurobiology of psychiatric disorders. We are approaching this question in two related ways. First, in the clinical arena, we are conducting microarray studies to look at changes in expression of growth factor-related genes in peripheral blood of patients being treated with antidepressant medications. Current theories regarding the mechanism of action of both mood stabilizers and antidepressants suggest that the effects of these medications are medicated by the induction of specific genes in the brain. However, the relationship of these changes to disease-state and treatment-response remains unclear because the tissue of interest (the patient's brain) is not, under normal circumstances available for study.

An emerging alternative is to look for biomarkers in a surrogate tissue such as blood since the signaling pathways affected by these medications are present in a wide variety of peripheral tissues, including blood. The long-term goal of this project is to identify molecular biomarkers that are predictive of changes in mood-state and/or positive treatment-response to aid in the treatment of mood disorders including depression and bipolar disorder. A second area of interest involves animal studies aimed at understanding on the role of adult neurogenesis in psychiatric disorders. Patients with major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia have all been found to have decreased hippocampal volumes, suggesting that decreased hippocampal cell number may be a common endophenotype in multiple mental illnesses.

Specialized Terms: Addictions Psychiatry; Bipolar Disorder; Molecular Neuroscience

Selected Publications

  • Cocaine Beech, R.D. and Sinha, R. (2011) “Cocaine” in Addiction Medicine: Science and Practice, Johnson, B.A. ed. (Springer, New York) pp. 397-416.
  • Increased peripheral blood expression of electron transport chain genes in bipolar depression

    Beech, R.D. ,Lowthert, L., Leffert, J.J., Mason, P.N.,Taylor, M.M., Umlauf, S., Lin, A., Lee, J.Y., Maloney, K., Muralidharan, A., Lorberg, B., Zhao, H., Newton, S.S., Mane, S., Epperson, C.N., Sinha, R., Blumberg, H., and Bhagwagar, Z. (2010) "Increased peripheral blood expression of electron transport chain genes in bipolar depression." Bipolar Disorders 12: 813-24.

  • Altered response to antidepressant treatment in FoxG1 heterozygous knockout mice

    Kinsler R, Taylor MM, Flores NM, Leffert JJ, Beech RD. Altered response to antidepressant treatment in FoxG1 heterozygous knockout mice. Synapse. 2010; 64(2):169-171.

Full List of PubMed Publications

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Contact Info

Robert D. Beech, PhD, MD
Patient Care Location
Connecticut Mental Health Center
34 Park Street, Ste 4th Floor

New Haven, CT 06519
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Mailing Address
Psychiatry300 George St
New Haven, CT 06511-