Problem-solving leads to better lives for those with mood disorders

Stewart Shankman; Researcher of the Year

Stewart Shankman: “Working with the next generation of clinical scientists is by far the most rewarding aspect of my job.” Photo: Joshua Clark/UIC Photo Services


The Researcher of the Year Award recognizes 10 UIC scientists who are advancing knowledge in their fields. The Distinguished Researcher Award honors five researchers with a record of outstanding achievement. The Rising Star Award honors early-career researchers who show promise as future leaders. 


Stewart Shankman 
Rising Star

Using a multi-method approach to explore the relationship between mood and anxiety disorders, Stewart Shankman seeks answers to the nature and course of depression.

“I like that clinical science research is a mixture of problem-solving and exploration, but at the same time is a process that has the ultimate goal of hopefully helping people who are suffering from debilitating mood disorders,” says Shankman, associate professor of psychology.

He has produced almost 70 publications and articles in leading journals. His research is funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

“With the high prevalence of mood disorders and the negative impact it has on daily living, Stew’s multidisciplinary approach to understanding the pathophysiology and treatment of mood disorders can have a tremendous impact on society,” says Michael Ragozzino, professor and chair of psychology.

While public awareness of depression and related issues has increased, Shankman cautions against applying a single label to a mood disorder or depression.  “There are over 14,000 different combinations of symptoms that a person could have that could lead them to have the one diagnosis of a major depressive disorder,” he says. “Given this diversity, it is not surprising that treatments are only moderately effective.”

Shankman came to UIC in 2005 after receiving his Ph.D. at Stony Brook University, where he was mentored by prominent clinical psychologist Daniel Klein. “At least once a week, I still ask myself. ‘What would do Dan do in this situation?’ and almost always, it’s the right course of action,” he says.

Shankman is head of UIC’s nationally accredited clinical psychology training program.

“Working with the next generation of clinical scientists is by far the most rewarding aspect of my job,” he says. “I try to foster in the student a sense of creativity and openness to interpretation, and more generally, to think both inside and outside of the box.

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