Randy P. Auerbach

Randy P. Auerbach

Research Interest


Adolescent major depressive disorder (MDD) is a serious public health problem associated with significant emotional and socioeconomic burden. By the age of 18, approximately 11% of adolescents will have experienced a depressive episode, and these episodes are linked to negative outcomes in adolescence, including academic difficulties, risky behavior engagement, and suicidal behaviors. In fact, suicide is the second leading cause of death among adolescents, and upwards of 70% of adolescents who die by suicide are first time attempters underscoring a critical need to develop effective intervention strategies. Despite these alarming statistics and the subsequent negative sequelae, the etiological mechanisms contributing to the onset of adolescent MDD and suicidal behaviors remain unclear.

Our lab uses a multimodal and multidisciplinary approach—ranging from electrophysiology, magnetic resonance imaging, and real-time monitoring—to address key issues affecting adolescents, including: (1) What behavioral and neural mechanisms underlie adolescent depression?, (2) Why do certain individuals who develop depression engage in suicidal behaviors?, and (3) What are the factors (e.g., therapeutic variables, changes in the brain) that contribute to successful clinical outcomes? By applying broad-based methodologies to targeted research questions, we believe that we can improve clinical outcomes for high-risk youth.

  • BA, 2000, Cornell University
  • PhD, 2010, McGill University
  • Identify neural markers that predict the onset and maintenance of depression in adolescents.
  • Clarify phenotypes and neural markers that differentiate adolescent suicide ideators and attempters.
  • Develop computational models integrating biological, behavioral, and real-time data in the service of improving the prediction of suicidal behaviors.
  • Develop novel treatments targeting neural circuitry (e.g., real-time fMRI neurofeedback) that improves clinical outcomes for depression.
  • Allison, G. O., Benau, E., Asbaghi, S., Pagliaccio, D., Stewart, J. G., & Auerbach, R. P. (in press). Neurophysiological markers related to negative self-referential processing differentiate adolescent suicide ideators and attempters. Biological Psychiatry: Global Open Science.
  • Auerbach, R. P., Pagliaccio, D., Hubbard, N., A., Frosch, I., Kremens, R., Cosby, E., Jones, R., Siless, V., Lo, N., Henin, A., Hofmann, S., Gabrieli, J. D. E., Yendiki, A., Whitfield-Gabrieli, S. & Pizzagalli, D. A. (in press). Reward-related circuitry in depressed and anxious adolescents: A human connectome project. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
  • Chase, H. W., Auerbach, R. P., Brent, D. A., Posner, J., Wiessman, M. M. & Talati, A. (in press). Dissociating default mode network resting state markers of suicide from familial risk factors for depression. Neuropsychopharmacology.
  • Mann, J. J., Michel, C. A., & Auerbach, R. P. (in press). Improving suicide prevention through evidenced-based strategies: A systematic review. American Journal of Psychiatry.
  • Webb, C. A., Auerbach, R. P., Bondy, E., Stanton, C. H., Appleman, L., & Pizzagalli, D. A. (2021). Reward-related neural predictors and mechanisms of symptom change in cognitive behavioral therapy for depressed girls. Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging, 6, 39-49.
  • Auerbach, R. P., Pagliaccio, D., Allison, G. O., *Alqueza, K. L., & Alonso, M. F. (2021). Neural correlates associated with suicide and non-suicidal self-injury in youth. Biological Psychiatry, 89, 119-133. 
  • Pagliaccio, D., Alqueza, K. L., Marsh, R., & Auerbach, R. P. (2020). Brain volume abnormalities in youth at high risk for depression: Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development Study. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 59, 1178-1188.
  • Lincoln, S. H., Pisoni, A., Bondy, E., Kumar, P., Singleton, P., Hajcak, G., Pizzagalli, D. A., & Auerbach, R. P. (2019). Altered reward processing following an acute stressor in adolescents. Plos One, 14(1), e0209361.
  • Auerbach, R. P., Pisoni, A., Bondy, E., Kumar, P., Stewart, J. G., Yendiki, A., & Pizzagalli, D. A. (2017). Neuroanatomical prediction of anhedonia in adolescents. Neuropsychopharmacology, 42, 2087-2095.
  • Auerbach, R. P., Stanton, C. H., Proudfit, G. H., & Pizzagalli, D. A. (2015). Self-referential processing in depressed adolescents: A high-density event-related potential study. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 124(2), 233-245.