Dr. Jeffrey Meyer

Canada Research Chair in the Neurochemistry of Major Depression, University of Toronto and Head of Neurochemical Imaging for the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program, CAMH

“We have mechanisms now to understand how important chemicals can be lost in the midst of clinical depression. In the future, just the way that we have lifestyle recommendations to avoid having heart disease, we can have similar recommendations to avoid clinical depression.”

What if we could “see” the signs of major depression – through chemical changes in the brain – before they fully develop? Could we then design early interventions that would alleviate future pain and suffering?

That’s the key goal Dr. Jeffrey Meyer is pursuing with his research at CAMH. The first psychiatrist to receive the Royal College Medal Award in Medicine throughout its 60-year history, Jeff is widely-recognized for his significant contribution to understanding the disruption of important brain chemicals in major depressive disorder. 

Working from Canada’s only brain imaging centre solely dedicated to mental health research, Dr. Meyer and his team discovered that patients with depression have higher than normal levels of an enzyme called monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A), which breaks down chemicals in the brain such as serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine, that have a positive effect on mood.

Understanding how to better regulate the function of this enzyme could eventually help reduce resistance to drug treatment, lessen the incidents of recurrence of depression and even help prevent the onset of depression in the first place.

At CAMH, Dr. Meyer is developing new strategies to prevent clinical depression and to overcome treatment resistant depression, which together represent one of society’s greatest public health challenges.

“We want to have impact in bigger ways than purely discovering aspects of illnesses. We want to affect people’s lives so that they don’t get the illness at all.”

Learn more about our vision for research.

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Foundation

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