Current Projects   |   Past Projects    |   Additional Research



2010 – 20 VITAL-DEP: Depression Endpoint Prevention in the VITamin D and OmegA-3 TriaL (NIH/NIMH R01 MH091448);  PI: Okereke
Investigation of the effects of long-term supplementation (5 years) with two agents – vitamin D3 (2000 IU/d) and marine omega-3 fatty acids (1000 mg/d) – on reducing the risk of late-life depression and yielding better mood scores over time in a 2×2 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled factorial trial among 20,000 men and women, aged ≥50 and ≥55 years, respectively.
Role: PI
2012 – 16 Psychological stress, associate biologic mediators, and ovarian cancer risk (NCI/1 R01CA163451-01A1);  PI: Tworoger
This innovative application will translate experimental research into prospective human studies and could potentially improve our understanding of ovarian carcinogenesis and our ability to prevent this fatal disease.
Role: Co-Investigator
2013 – 17 Novel Associations of Anxiety, Depression and Telomeres across Mid- and Late-Life (NIH R01MH096776);  PI: Okereke
This proposal will address associations of anxiety, depression and telomere lengths across mid- and late life among community-dwelling women in the Nurses’ Health Study, and give particular attention to potential mediating or moderating influences of medical comorbidities.
Role: PI
2014 – 16 Novel Associations of Anxiety, Depression and Telomeres across Mid- and Late-Life (NIH R01MH096776-02S2); PI: Okereke
This administrative supplement of R01MH096776 enhances the project by adding blood samples from participants in the VITAL-DEP (Depression Endpoint Prevention in the VITamin D and OmegA-TriaL) to address the role of telomeres in race/ethnic disparities in late-life depression.
Role: PI
2014 – 17 Novel Associations of Anxiety, Depression and Telomeres across Mid- and Late-Life (NIH R01MH096776-02S1); PI: Okereke
This administrative supplement of R01MH096776 enhances the scope of the parent project by adding new technology.
Role: PI
2014 – 16 Depression, Antidepressant Use and Breast Cancer Risk (NIH R03CA186228); PI: Reeves
Depression and antidepressant use are highly prevalent among U.S. women; thus it is critically important to understand if and how depression and AD use influence breast cancer risk. This research will provide vital new information for clinicians and patients weighing the risks and benefits of AD use versus other treatment options. We have an excellent opportunity to capitalize on pre-existing data to cost-effectively and comprehensively assess the independent and joint relationships of depression and ADs on breast cancer risk and to evaluate how ADs affect prolactin.
Role: BWH Sub PI
2014 – 16 Fetal Photoperiodic Programming and Affective Disorders In Adulthood (NIH R21 MH101407); PI: Schernhammer
We will examine how light exposure around birth affects the risk of developing affective disorders in adulthood. We will use a combination of birth month and latitude of birth place among participants of the Nurses’ Health Study to evaluate this, as well as a set of secondary aims related to chronodisruption and stress in adulthood and how this affects potential associations.
Role: Co-Investigator



2007 – 08 Pilot Study for Development of a Shortened Clinical Dementia Rating Questionnaire;  PI: Okereke
Pilot Research Grant/Harvard NeuroDiscovery Center

The goals of this project were to select high sensitivity questions targeting symptoms of mild cognitive change and to develop a brief clinician-based questionnaire instrument based on these high-yield items.
Role: PI
2008 – 13 Dietary Fat Composition, Plasma Lipids, and Cognitive Decline (NIH/NIA K08 AG029813); PI: Okereke
Career Development Award to support PI’s development of an independent research program and to complete aims investigating the associations between dietary fatty acid types and late-life cognitive decline, with special attention to interactions with levels of plasma lipids and systemic oxidative stress.
No-cost extension 2012-2013.
Role: PI
2009 – 10 Phobic anxiety and late-life cognitive decline: roles of oxidative stress and COMT polymorphism;  PI: Okereke
HMS Eleanor and Miles Shore 50 th Anniversary Fellowships for Scholars in Medicine/ Amalie and Edward Kass Fellowship
This award funded an original project investigating the relation of phobic anxiety to cognitive aging, with particular attention to potential roles of systemic oxidative stress and COMT Val/Met polymorphism.
Role: PI
2010 – 12 Planning Large-scale Alzheimer disease QUEstionnaire-aided Studies (PLAQUES);  PI: Okereke
Alzheimer’s Association New Investigator Research Grant (NIRG #133383)
The project focus was to develop and pilot a low-cost, efficient method for diagnosis of cognitive disorders that would be directly applicable to large-scale epidemiologic and genetic studies and prevention trials in Alzheimer disease.
Role: PI
2011 – 12 Effect of long-term folic acid and B vitamin supplementation on risk of late-life depression in women: a randomized, controlled trial;  PI: Okereke
William F. Milton Fund (Harvard University Endowment Fund)
This project, which included over 4,000 mid- and late-life participants of the Women’s Antioxidant and Folic Acid Cardiovascular Study, tested whether: 1) long-term combined folic acid/vitamin B6/vitamin B12 supplementation reduced risk of depression compared to placebo and 2) supplementation’s effects on depression risk were modified by baseline dietary intakes of folate and B-vitamins, alcohol consumption, and medical comorbidity.
Role: PI
2012 – 14 High-Risk Factors for Late-Life Depression in Women; PI: Okereke
Harvard Diversity Inclusion and Community Partnership (DCP)/Harvard Medical School

This proposal employs the Institute of Medicine (IOM) frameworks of selective and indicated prevention to: 1) evaluate relations of “high-risk” factors to incidence of late-life depression in women of the Nurses’ Health Study, 2) address potential differences in distributions and estimated impacts of these factors by race/ethnicity.
Role: PI
2012 – 15 Prospective Study of Air Pollution and Psychiatric Disorders (NIEHS/1 R21ES019982-01A1); PI: Weisskopf
The study objective is to assess the association between long-term exposure to air pollution and psychiatric disorders—specifically depression and anxiety—in older women.
No-cost extension 2014-2015.
Role: Co-Investigator



  2012 – Pilot Study of Mood Validation within the Nurses’ Health Study
This project will establish the validity of proxy variables for ascertainment of depression and anxiety diagnoses in the Nurses’ Health Study cohort, using gold-standard structured psychiatric interviews among a stratified random sample of MA-dwelling participants.
Role: Project Leader
2014 – 19 Massachusetts Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (MADRC) (NIH/NIA P50 AG005134);  PI: Hyman
The specific goals are: To propose and support new research in neuroscience directed toward uncovering the etiology and pathogenetic mechanisms of AD and related dementias; to enhance collaborative dementia research funded outside of the ADRC; and to catalyze education, training and information transfer related to AD and related dementias. Core B, the clinical core, aims to provide patient evaluation and clinical care related to the mandate of the ADRC.
Role: Co-Investigator