Message from the Director

Thank you for visiting the Vanderbilt Laboratory of Affective and Cognitive Imaging – or LACI for short.  We are an interdisciplinary research group dedicated to changing lives by expanding our understanding of the causes of depression and improving its treatment.

Our work focuses on depression in older adults.  Older adults have unique challenges that may contribute to depression, such as medical illnesses, difficulty with work or employment, or serious losses, such as the death of loved ones.  Some older depressed adults may experience problems with their memory or may not feel better after taking common antidepressant medications.  For many, it can be very hard to admit to feelings of depression and sadness, much less ask for help. 

What is depression?  Doctors and psychologists diagnose depression by its common symptoms: sadness, poor motivation and energy, trouble with concentration, feelings of guilt or regret, and sleep problems.  Although life stresses contribute to depression, we know that depression is a brain disorder.  Our brains work differently when we are depressed.  Treatments that improve depression, such as talk therapy or antidepressant medications, can help restore normal function and lead to recovery.


Our ultimate goal is to improve the lives of older adults with depression. To achieve that goal, we need to better understand depression and improve how we treat it. We must target current treatments more precisely, keep people healthy once they recover, and develop new treatment approaches. But without the help of our research volunteers, none of this is possible.

If you are a patient or a family member of someone with depression, I encourage you to learn more about us.  Please consider whether participating in one of our studies makes sense for you.  Together, we can work to better help people with depression.  If you decide research is not for you, I encourage you to ask for help from your family and medical providers.

Warren D Taylor, MD, MHSc

James G. Blakemore Professor of Psychiatry