Shining light on Depression


Date: Saturday, 22nd January, 2015,9pm

Venue: Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown

Speakers: Lewis Wolpert, Helen Mayberg, João Bessa

More than simply feeling sad, depression is a mood disorder that affects both mind and body. Sylvia Plath famously described it as a “bell jar” which masks, numbs and obscures one’s very notion and experience of reality, resulting in a variable myriad of symptoms such as lethargy, feelings of profound unhappiness, low mood and self-esteem, and a notional belief of hopelessness about the future. The World Health Organization estimates that approximately two-thirds of the adult population experiences depression at least once, making this an immensely impactful illness on both human life quality and national health systems.[/one_half_last]

But what really is depression? What are its causes? Are the underlying biological and psychological factors dissociable? And most importantly, how can depression be treated and prevented?

On January 22nd we will explore this phenomenon and try to answer some of these questions. João Bessa, a psychiatrist, will explain what biomedical research using animal models can tell us about the biological basis of depression. Lewis Wolpert, a renowned developmental biologist and author, will share his personal struggles with clinical depression. Finally, Helen Mayberg, a neurologist with ground-breaking work on major depression, will explain why deep brain stimulation is being offered as new hope for patients with treatment-resistant depression. Following these three talks, a round table will be held to promote further discussion.

Join us in trying to shine a light on depression.





Pedro Ferreira
Pedro Ferreira was born in Lisbon. His interest in genetics led him to study Biology. His dream is to fuse his passion of reading and writing with neuroscience and study the neurobiological basis of imagination and storytelling. Currently, Pedro is following his PhD at the CNP.


Pedro Rodrigues
Pedro Rodrigues studied Medicine at NOVA Medical School, he is a Psychiatry Resident at Centro Hospitalar Psiquiátrico de Lisboa and he is now doing a PhD at the Neuropsychiatry Unit studying instrumental learning in health and disease.


Ekaterina Vinnik was born in chilly Moscow and after studying Medicine decided to do a PhD in neuroscience in Italy. Recently, she joined the CNP, where she is studying how sounds cause emotional memories.


Albino Oliveira-Maia studied Medicine at Universidade do Porto, Public Health at Harvard University and earned a PhD at Duke University. He currently works as a Physician and Neuroscientist at the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health at Centro Hospitalar de Lisboa Ocidental and at the CNP.


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