Director, McGill Group for Suicide Studies
Head, Depressive Disorders Program, Douglas Institute
Co-Director, Douglas – Bell Canada Brain Bank (suicide studies)
Director, Réseau québécois sur le suicide, les troubles de l’humeur et les troubles associés – RQSHA
Chair, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University
Professor, McGill University, Departments of Psychiatry, Human Genetics, and Neurology & Neurosurgery
Expertise: Suicide, depressive disorders, treatment-resistant major depressive disorder, neurobiology, psychiatric genetics, epigenetics
Lab webpage: The Turecki Lab (Research areas, Publications, Funding, Team members)
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.
Gustavo Turecki, MD, PhD, conducts studies to better understand the characteristics of these individuals, focusing on issues such as early development, personality traits and neurobiological factors, with particular attention to how the environment interacts with the genome to increase risk. Typically, his studies address questions such as: “Why do some people who become depressed commit suicide while others with the same illness do not?”
At a molecular level, he investigates the role of epigenetic risk factors, namely how life experience affects gene function and increases risk for suicidal behaviour. Epigenetics describes the factors that can alter gene expression without directly changing their coding sequence (DNA).
Gustavo Turecki is the Director of the MGSS and also the Head of the Depressive Disorders Program, which offers superspecialized services to children and adults with major depression and/or severe forms of other depressive disorders. It provides cutting-edge therapies to depressed patients and develops the body of knowledge on risk factors and treatment of major depression by integrating research projects into clinical practice.