Feb 11, 2019

New Labatt Family Network for Research on the Biology of Depression provides hope for understanding the biology of depression

About Us, Divisions & Programs, Education, Faculty & Staff, News & Events
Labatt Family with Meric and Trevor

Thanks to a $20-million gift from the Labatt family, the University of Toronto’s Department of Psychiatry is launching a groundbreaking network dedicated to understanding the biological causes of depression.

Depression is the leading cause of disability around the world, but we still don’t fully understand how it develops – and in whom. Our understanding of the underlying biology behind depression remains limited, and this in turn limits our ability to identify the best methods to treat it.

Labatt Family with Meric and Trevor

The Labatt Family Network for Research on the Biology of Depression will enable our most talented minds to collaborate and explore multiple areas of research, opening a new frontier in our exploration of the root causes of depression. The Labatt family’s gift provides the funds necessary for the department to pursue multiple areas of inquiry and ensure sustainable, long-term research. By developing a deeper understanding of the biology of depression, the network will open the door to new, innovative treatment methods and prevention options, bringing hope to the millions of people affected by the illness every year.

Recognizing the Labatt family’s generosity, the Chair of the Department of Psychiatry will now be named the Labatt Family Chair, with Professor Benoit Mulsant as the inaugural holder. This is one of few named departmental chairs in the Faculty of Medicine, taking an esteemed place alongside the Sir John and Lady Eaton Chair of the Department of Medicine, and the R.S. McLaughlin Chair of the Department of Surgery.

The director of the Labatt Family Network will be Professor Alastair Flint, an expert on geriatric psychiatry who is the vice-chair of research in the Department of Psychiatry and a senior scientist at the University Health Network.

“We know that scientists are only beginning to grasp the complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors that can result in depression,” says Arthur Labatt. “With our gift, the Labatt Family Network will act as a catalyst for the next big wave of ideas for preventing and managing this illness, and develop the talent of tomorrow. We hope that the fundamental work undertaken here will one day bring relief to the millions of families that depression affects worldwide.”

Learn more about this game-changing gift and the Labatt Family Network.

You can make an online contribution to the Labatt Family Network for Research on the Biology of Depression Medicine at the University of Toronto.