The first week of December 2019, Melvin McInnis, M.D., Director of the Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Program, attended the 8thFrontiers in Biomedical Research symposium of the University of Michigan-Israel Partnership for Research and Education. The conference, which took place in Israel, hosted 53 scientific presentations from the Weizmann Institute of Science, Technion Israel Institute of Technology, and the University of Michigan. The conference provides for extensive interactions between researchers from the three institutions and is the basis for a wide range of collaborative research.
Dr. McInnis presented research from the Prechter Program in his talk “Modeling Mood and Emotion from Passively Collected Speech to Predict Need for Intervention in Bipolar Disorder.“
Dr. McInnis has been collaborating with Uri Alon at the Weizmann Institute. Dr. Alon is a systems biologist and directs a lab with expertise in physics, psychology, and biology. Together, both research teams are studying long-range patterns of cortisol in samples of hair. Cortisol is one of many stress-related hormones that fluctuates in a complex pattern according to levels of individual stress. There are many unanswered questions in this area, such as whether there is a pattern over time that can provide an index of biological stress in the individual and whether such a pattern can become a marker or predictor of the course of illness.
During his trip, Dr. McInnis also visited the Mental Health Center and Hospital in Be’er Ya’akov. This hospital has over 300 inpatient beds, a vibrant day program, and emergency services for central Israel. Dr. McInnis met with Dr. Gadi Cohen-Rappaport about planned collaborations and training programs for Israeli researchers interested in bipolar disorder.