Skip Navigation

Studies currently recruiting

Depression and Brain Imaging

Researchers need people who are depressed to volunteer for a research study looking at the brain. This outpatient study uses an investigational drug during brain imagin (PET scan) to learn more about the brains of people with depression. This research will hopefully help doctors match specific treatments to people with depression in the future.

You may be eligible to participate if you:

  • Are between the ages of 18 and 70
  • Are currently depressed (it’s OK if you’re on medication)
  • Are otherwise healthy
  • Currently have a doctor
  • Do not currently have a substance use disorder
  • Can lie flat and/or still for an MRI

Participation includes:

  • A physical and blood tests
  • Brain imaging (PET scans and MRI)
  • An intravenous (IV) and arterial lines 
  • An investigational new drug (a PET radiotracer)

Compensation is provided for both time and completing tasks. Taxi service may be provided. Travel and lodging may be provided. Contact us for more information. The studies are conducted at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

301-402-6142 TTY: 711
[email protected]

Download flyer

Imaging the role of the α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor in the pathophysiology of psychosis

Researchers are seeking individuals to participate in a brain imaging research to evaluate whether a protein receptor is low in the brains of individuals with psychotic symptoms. You may be eligible if you:

  • Have a diagnosis of a psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, schizophreniform disorder, bipolar disorder, or major depressive disorder with psychosis, and if you had first onset of psychotic symptoms within the past five years.
  • Are 18-35 years old

Qualified participants will have one PET scan and one MRI scan of the head. Those completing the research study will receive a payment of up to $400. For more information, please call Dr. Jennifer Coughlin at 443-287-4701 or email [email protected] Principal Investigator: Martin Pomper, M.D., Ph.D. Application #: IRB00184745


Ketamine Trial Research Study

Principal Investigator: Fernando Goes, M.D.; IRB00128515 

For more information about the research study, please contact the Research Coordinator at 410-614-1017.

We are looking for volunteers to participate in a ketamine trial research study. 

For inclusion in this study, the following will be required: 

  • Age 18-65 years 
  • Meets DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for major depressive disorder, bipolar I disorder, or bipolar II disorder
  • Has had a failure of at least two previous antidepressant or mood stabilizing treatments within the current depressive episode
  • Must not have prior participation in another study of ketamine for depression within the prior 6 months
  • Must not have active or unstable medical condition conferring too great a level of medical risk to allow inclusion in the study
  • Must not have used or abused of methamphetamine, cocaine, cannabis, or stimulants (prescribed and illicit) within the past 12 months

Further eligibility criteria will be given upon contact. 

MHi-GO: Mobile Health App for Tracking Mood Disorders Pilot Study

Principal Investigator: Peter Zandi, MPH, MHS, PhD; IRB00116741

Enrollment OPEN. 

For more information about participation in future studies, please call 410-550-1652.

We have developed a mobile phone app that allows us to help patients stay adherent to their treatments and to better track how they are doing clinically on these treatments so that we can provide more timely care that is responsive to the changing course of their illness.  We are currently conducting a pilot study of this mobile app to examine the feasibility and acceptability of using MHi-GO as part of routine care and to test whether its use improves medication adherence and course of illness.   

Oxidative Stress and Mood Disorder Trajectories Research Study

Principal Investigator: Fernando Goes, MD; IRB00104809

Enrollment is OPEN. 

For more information about the research study, please contact the Research Coordinator at 410-614-1017.

The long-term goal of the study is to understand biological mechanisms in the brain that contribute to a better or worse course of illness in mood disorder to inform the development of intervention and prevention strategies.
Depression is a common disorder, with one in five individuals experiencing an episode in their lifetime.  A history of depression is associated with a twofold increase in risk of dementia in later life. Thus, another goal of this project is to examine oxidative stress as a potential mechanism underlying increased risk of dementia in depression.

To Participate:

  • This research study will involve 2 study visits over a period of 2 weeks consisting of a blood draw, a urine tox screen, psychiatric evaluations, answering questionnaires and undergoing a scan of your brain called magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
  • People aged 35-84 years with and without mood disorders may participate.
  • Psychiatric Evaluation: clinical measures to evaluate your psychiatric status
  • Questionnaires: Participants will complete several questionnaires and assessments to see how they use their memory and solve problems. Mood states and current health and medications will be recorded. 
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): Participants will have a 1-hour MRI scan done as part of this study at the second visit
  • Blood Draw: three 10mL blood samples will be taken from a vein in your arm

NNDC Mood Outcomes Program

Principal Investigator: Peter Zandi, MPH, MHS, PhD; IRB00106105, NA_00040237

Enrollment is OPEN.

For more information about this research study, please call 410-550-1652.

To learn more about the National Network of Depression Centers, please visit

What is the National Network of Depression Centers (NNDC) Mood Outcomes Program?

Healthcare providers use many different questionnaires and tests to diagnose depression, bipolar disorder, and related conditions, but there is no one set of measurement tools used everywhere to take mood “vital signs” of a patient, as one might measure a patient’s temperature or blood pressure. The NNDC is taking the lead in developing such a set of measures which we hope will become the standard for tracking patient progress. The NNDC has brought together clinicians and researchers - including those here at Johns Hopkins – all working together towards one goal: to improve the lives of persons with mood disorders.

For this program, patients at NNDC clinics will be asked to fill out questionnaires asking about mood symptoms to figure out the best way to follow patients over time.

back to top button