Faculty mentor: Dr. Joseph porter

Department: Health Psychology

In a nutshell: We are creating a literature review in order to assess how the opioid system is able to mediate the antidepressant effects of traditional antidepressants in comparisons to opiates themselves and its potential to be used as an antidepressant based on their neurochemical mechancisms.

In a bigger shell: We are working...on how to best search and screen databases (such as PubMed/Medline) for useful articles, taking notes, and reference management. We are going to share all the article PDFs and notes via a Google Drive folder and organize them based on the neurochemical mechanism of the drugs, [specifically] mu, delta, kappa, and indirect actions. Several drugs that will be used to help start this review process are buprenorphine, tianeptine, tramadol, and methadone. It also will be important to look at how the opioid system is able to mediate the antidepressant effect of many traditional antidepressants (e.g. SSRI, SNRI, and tricyclics), [as] there are a good number of studies on that. In addition to that, the interaction between the opioid system and the serotonin system, and the interactions between the opioid system and the glutamatergic NMDARs will be explored. The final project goal is to have a narrative review that provides a current perspective on the role of opioid systems in depression and the use of opioid drugs as antidepressants.

End of year goal: To publish a literature review and bring back the lab to start running the experiments

A tip for others: When having to read a large amount of literature, it is best to approach it systemically by having a set quota to read per day and organizing information into charts. Reference management softwares, such as Zotero, are also very helpful.