Suicide, depressive disorders, treatment-resistant major depressive disorder
Attempted and completed suicides are major problems in our society, making the understanding, prevention, and treatment of suicidal behaviors a top priority. Individuals who suffer from major depression are especially at risk. Dr. Turecki conducts studies to better understand the characteristics of these individuals, focusing on early development, personality traits and neurobiological factors, with particular attention to how the environment interacts with the genome to increase risk. Dr. Turecki’s studies address questions such as: "Why do some people who become depressed commit suicide while others who have the same illness do not?" At a molecular level, he is involved with investigating the role of epigenetic risk factors, and particularly, how life experience changes gene function and increases risk for suicidal behavior. Dr. Turecki is the director of the McGill Group for Suicide Studies (MGSS), a center comprising eight independent investigators and carrying out multidisciplinary studies on suicide, including the study of biological, behavioral, clinical and psychosocial risk factors for suicide. The MGSS manages the Quebec Suicide Brain Bank, which provides tissue for postmortem work on suicide and mental illnesses. Dr. Turecki is also the Head of the Depressive Disorders Program, a superspecialized service for children and adults who are suffering from major depression and/or severe forms of other depressive disorders. It offers cutting-edge treatment for depressed patients and develops knowledge on major depression, its risk factors, and treatments, by conducting research projects that are integrated into the clinical practice. Dr. Turecki has several administrative responsibilities. He is the vice-chair of research and academic affairs of the department of psychiatry, McGill University and is the director of the RQRS (Réseau québecois de recherché sur le suicide). He is also the president of the International Academy of Suicide Research.