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How can the BDNF gene be used as a gene of interest in genetic treatment of major depressive disorder?

Project by Polygence alum Emily

How can the BDNF gene be used as a gene of interest in genetic treatment of MDD?

Project's result

Currently awaiting publication in the International Youth Neuroscience Association (IYNA) journal.

They started it from zero. Are you ready to level up with us?


As depression rates increase among Americans, neuroscientists seek for more efficient targets for treating major depressive disorder (MDD) by focusing on biological mechanisms. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a neurotrophic protein, has been shown to be associated with the development of neuropsychological disorders such as MDD. Thus, BDNF mechanisms are an ideal target in the search for effective treatments for depression, through antidepressants, physical exercise, and gene therapy.



Polygence mentor

PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate


Medicine, Neuroscience, Biology, Languages, Psychology


Neuroscience, Cellular Biology, viruses, Pharmacology, Addiction, Science Communication, GABA, Dopamine, Neuropharmacology, Substance Abuse, Substance Use Disorders, Neural Circuitry, Mechanisms Underlying Disease, Cellular and molecular biology and developmental biology





Rowland High School

Graduation Year


Project review

“I didn't expect my mentor to be so helpful in guiding me through the process. I was initially daunted by the thought of doing a whole research project on my own, but I am so so thankful I got the support I needed.”

About my mentor

“Nella helped me in so many ways. First of all, she emphasized throughout that this was an INDEPENDENT research project and that the direction of my paper was entirely in my hands. She did not do the research for me, although she often sent articles she thought would be helpful. Whenever I didn't understand a topic, she would clarify with me. She has gone above and beyond my expectations, and I am truly grateful I matched with her.”