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Woman's Board Depression Treatment Research Center

The Woman’s Board Depression Treatment Research Center, or TRC, has been an integral part of the Department of Psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center since 1987, with a satellite site in suburban Skokie. The TRC has worked with thousands of patients to assess and manage mood disorders using innovative and state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment modalities.

The TRC has a reputation that draws patients from the Chicago metropolitan area, but we are also nationally and internationally recognized for our innovative diagnostic and treatment approaches. We are clinically based, providing comprehensive psychiatric and medical assessments (usually at no cost for those who qualify for a clinical trial), and a broad range of treatment options.

All research involving human subjects is reviewed by the Institutional Review Board of Rush University Medical Center. Subjects who participate in our projects have excellent access to our clinical staff.

Our work

You can see the caliber of work done through the TRC by the many notable accomplishments and successes in the area of treating and managing mood disorders, including FDA approval of many new medications and alternative treatments, development and use of assessments, and hundreds of peer-reviewed publications to improve the management of these illnesses. The TRC’s scope of work represents the experience and passion of our staff.

Those accomplishments include the impact of combined psychotherapy with a personalized medication approach tailored to an individual’s needs. The TRC currently serves as a model for optimal diagnostic and treatment strategies for those who suffer from mood disorders (unipolar and bipolar disorders), genetic testing to predict outcomes to treatment, and a novel diagnostic approach using EEG-based technology to predict and assess treatment outcome by looking at how the brain adapts to specific treatments.

The TRC provides a model to study the impact of novel diagnostic and treatment strategies including following the Rush Values of personalized care toward optimal acute and long-term recovery and remission, which is applicable to all patients and clinicians who experience the challenges associated with treatment of mood disorders, as well as minimizing the risk of mortality (such as suicide, for example) and educating patients and significant others to improve outcomes.


Papakostas GI, Shelton RC, Zajecka JM, Etemad B, Rickels K, Clain A, Baer L, Dalton ED, Sacco G, Schoenfeld D, Pencina M, Meisner A, Bottiglieri T, Nelson E, Mischoulon D, Alpert JE, Barbee JG, Zisook S, Fava M. L-methylfolate as adjunctive therapy for SSRI-resistant major depression: results of two randomized, double-blind, parallel-sequential trials. Am J Psychiatry 169(12):1267-1274, 2012

Amsterdam JD, Zajecka J, Soeller I, Topel M, Goldstein C, DeRubeis RJ. Prevention of relapse & recurrence of bipolar type I depression: A study protocol for a multi-site randomized, double-blind, placebo-substitution trial. J Clinical Trials. 4:197, 2014

Hollon SD, DeRubeis RJ, Fawcett J, Amsterdam JD, Shelton RC, Zajecka J, Young PR, Gallop R. Effect of Cognitive Therapy with Antidepressant Medications vs Antidepressants Alone on the Rate of Recovery in Major Depressive Disorder: A Randomized Trial. JAMA 71(10):1157-1164, August 20, 2014

Rush JA, Marangell LB, Sackeim HA, George MS, Brannan SK, Davis SM, Howland R, Kling MA, Rittberg BR, Burke WJ, Rapaport MH, Zajecka J, Nierenberg AA, Husain MM, Ginsberg D, Cooke RG. Vagus nerve stimulation for treatment-resistant depression: a randomized, controlled acute phase trial. Biol Psychiatry. 58:347-354, 2005

Zajecka J. Residual Symptoms and relapse: Mood, cognitive symptoms, and sleep disturbances. J Clin Psychiatry 74 (suppl 2):9-13, 2013

Overview of projects

Recent and current NIMH-supported studies

  • Prevention of Recurrence in Depression with Drugs and Cognitive Therapy
  • Prevention of Relapse and Recurrence of Bipolar Depression
  • Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Proof-of-Concept (POC) Trial of LY2456302, a Kappa-Selective Opioid Receptor Antagonist, Augmentation of Antidepressant Therapy in Treatment-Resistant Depression

Investigator-initiated projects

  • Brain Network Activation (BNA): The TRC is the first site in the U.S. to apply this non-invasive diagnostic and assessment technology in mood disorders
  • MDD/cognition study: The relationship among changes in BNA, changes in core depressive and cognitive symptoms and safety and tolerability in adult outpatients with major depressive disorder treated with open-label, flexible-dose vortioxetine: A proof of concept study
  • Treatment program: Offering treatment to persons who may eventually qualify for a clinical trial, providing continuity of care to those who are transitioning from completion of a clinical trial, as well as providing access to innovative treatment strategies available in the TRC

Pharmaceutical industry-supported trials

  • Use of genetic and other biomarkers to “personalize” treatment approaches
  • Acute and long-term studies to provide access to innovative treatments not available in the general community
  • Vagus nerve stimulation: Long-term participation in the National Treatment-Resistant Depression Registry, established to assess the efficacy of treatment over time, pioneering the use of VNS and transcranial magnetic stimulation in a treatment-resistant depression population


The TRC has options for individuals who ...

  • Are experiencing a first-time episode of depression (either unipolar or bipolar)
  • Have poor results with previous treatments (either side effects or poor response)
  • Need a diagnosis confirmed
  • Are in remission and want to participate in novel strategies to maintain remission toward recovery
  • Are uncertain whether current treatment is adequate
  • Desire to contribute toward the advancement of improving the diagnosis and management of mood disorders

The TRC will work collaboratively with a patient’s current health care provider.

Click for information about participating in our studies:

  • Depression Treatment Study
  • Using Genetic DNA Testing to Find Treatments Depression
  • Predictors of Relapse in Depression
  • Depression Medication Study


Funding to conduct our clinical work comes from federal grants (such as the National Institutes of Health), the pharmaceutical industry, philanthropic contributions, and private foundations.

Our team

The TRC team includes board-certified psychiatrists who are leading academic physicians, psychologists, certified raters and a physician assistant. We use a team model to provide a personalized approach to diagnostic and treatment options, collaboration with other tertiary-care academic institutions and interdisciplinary relationships with other departments at Rush.

Our staff has regulatory and safety expertise to follow the evolving climate in medical care, as well as clinical expertise in neurological science, neurological/medical clinical expertise, genetics, neuropsychological testing, brain imaging, neurosurgery, and liaison with community and advocacy groups. The TRC participates in mentoring and educating medical students and residents and supports postgraduate clinical research in the area of the treatment of mood disorders.

  • Director: John Zajecka, MD
  • Clinical director: Corey Goldstein, MD
  • Research clinician: Joao Busnello, MD
  • Research clinician/coordinator, Skokie satellite: Ian Mackey, MS, PA-C
  • Research clinician, co-director of Brain Network Activation Center, Rush campus and Skokie satellite: Michael Topel, PsyD
  • Administrative manager, regulatory coordinator: Linda Skaggs
  • Research coordinators: Matthew Marasco, BS; Karen Neimanas, MA; and Allison Mischel, BS
  • BNA technicians, Skokie satellite: Erick Rios, BS; and Alexa Zajecka

Contact us

Phone: (312) 942-6597