Research Cores

In addition to the individual research project, each Conte Center also operates several core facilities to support the research projects:

Administrative Core 1

This Core operates the Center by providing scientific leadership through the Center Director, running a monthly meeting of the researchers who run each project and core, and organizing a meeting of leading external scientists who visit the Center each year to evaluate the quality of the research and the progress being made, and provide a critique that includes the future research goals of the Center.

This Core is also in charge of training and manages a program that offers paid and unpaid research electives for students, research post-doctoral fellows and junior faculty. The Core organizes an application process and selection committees for all categories of trainees, matches the selected individuals with mentors selected from amongst the Conte Center researchers and then monitors the productivity of the research electives.

This Core has created this website and strives to keep its content up to date and interesting. Finally the Core manages the grant finances, staff hiring paperwork and is responsible for all reporting requirements to the NIMH, New York State and Columbia University.

Clinical Evaluation Core 2

The Clinical Evaluation Core’s (CEC) goals are the recruitment and evaluation of healthy volunteers and patients. The CEC identifies and recruits

  • Patients with major depressive episodes with or without a history of a suicide attempt, and
  • Healthy volunteers.

The CEC utilizes a core of clinical instruments covering major risk and protective factor domains for suicidal behavior. These assessments include structured diagnostic interviews, measures of state and trait-related risk factors, measures of suicidal behavior, demographic history, life events, social functioning, and family psychiatric history.

Assessments are performed at intake, at the time of biological procedures, and at discharge. The CEC conducts postmortem assessments with family members of suicide victims whose brains are studied by Project 2. The CEC also interfaces with the Administrative Core to identify and recruit new staff and maintain a central database of CEC manuscripts. The CEC coordinates a weekly  diagnostic consensus conference and meetings to measure and maintain inter-rater reliability. CEC faculty and staff form an experienced center structure as most have worked together for the past 10 years or longer.

Neurobiology and Genomics Laboratory Core 3

The Neurobiology and Genomics Laboratory Core (NGLC) carries out specialized assays in genetics and epigenetics (the study of changes in gene expression that occur without modifying the DNA sequence).

Research Cores Conte Center

Database and Statistical Core 4

The Database and Statistical Core (DBSC) provides comprehensive data-related services for all Conte Center projects and cores, including research design, statistical consultation and manuscript review, data system development and implementation, quality assurance, data security and backup.