Congratulations to our very own Dr. Jacob Michaelson! He has just accepted the position of division chair in the newly-expanded Division of Computational and Molecular Psychiatry within the Department of Psychiatry here at the University of Iowa. Computational psychiatry is a new area of research that seeks to combine innovative approaches from the world of computing and informatics to solve problems in mental health.
This new research emphasis builds upon our department's strengths in molecular psychiatry (including the genetic research we do that you've heard so much about: SPARK and devGenes). If you've been a devGenes participant and have walked in front of our Kinect 3D camera, or had your picture taken or your hands scanned to measure the lengths of your fingers, you've participated in a field of computational psychiatry research called "digital phenotyping". This approach looks for clues in how your body grows and moves to make educated guesses about how your brain has developed and functions. We're working right now to build similar "digital phenotyping" approaches using spoken language! All of these approaches aim to add more quantifiable, objective data to help the process of diagnosis and treatment.
Together with other investigators and labs in the Division of Computational and Molecular Psychiatry, we are using advanced technologies to improve the understanding and treatment of neurodevelopmental conditions and mental illness.