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Ongoing Projects

Click on the boxes below to learn more about our main projects!

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Project STARS: Short-term Assessment of Risk for Suicide

The major goal of this study is to evaluate candidate neurocognitive markers of short-term risk for suicidal behavior in clinically acute adolescents using novel advances in computational psychiatry.

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Neurocognitive characteristics of short-term risk for suicidal behavior in adolescents

PI: Richard Liu


Funding: National Institute of Mental Health R01 MH115905


Suicidal behavior often occurs during periods of acute arousal, and these periods of acute stress can compromise cognitive functioning and decision-making. This may be even more so for individuals struggling with their mental health, particularly individuals at risk for suicide. This study will evaluate whether executive control and other aspects of neurocognitive functioning during acute stress may be short-term risk indicators for suicidal behavior in adolescents. The eventual goal of this project is to develop a youth suicide risk prediction algorithm that may inform prevention and clinical decision-making in the ER and inpatient visits, points of clinical contact with high levels of acute stress.

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Project MOON

The major goal of this study is to adopt ambulatory assessments of stress, sleep disturbance, and physiological arousal, and a measure of stress-related executive control in evaluating the interrelation of these risk indices in characterizing short-term risk for suicidal behavior in clinically acute adolescents.

Inpatient

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Temporal dynamics of stress, sleep, and arousal in short-term risk for adolescent suicidal behavior

 

PI: Richard Liu


Funding: National Institute of Mental Health RF1 MH120830

 

The major goal of this study is to leverage recent developments in mobile technology to conduct mobile assessments of psychosocial stress (i.e., through smartphone apps and social media activity and content), physiological arousal, sleep disturbance in relation to stress-related executive control to characterize short-term risk for suicidal behavior in clinically acute adolescents continuously in the month after discharge, the period of greatest risk for suicidal behavior. The translational goal of this project is to develop an algorithm that can alert clinicians and caregivers to acute suicide risk in teens in outpatient care and other settings with regular repeated contact.

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Project MARS: Multi-site Assessment of Risk for Suicide​

The goal of this project is to explore proximal mechanisms of the relationship between negative interpersonal events in family and suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

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Clarifying proximal mechanisms linking interpersonal stressors to suicidal behavior in youth: A multi-informant real-time monitoring study

MPIs: Evan Kleiman, Cassie Glenn, Richard Liu


Funding: National Institute of Mental Health R01 MH12489

 

In our prior work, we have found that for a substantial proportion of teens admitted to inpatient care, suicidal thoughts and behaviors that result in psychiatric admission are precipitated by interpersonal conflict, often within family relationships. The goal of this project is to leverage mobile technology with both caregivers and teens to evaluate real-time interpersonal family dynamics in relation to suicidal thoughts and behaviors in the month after discharge from inpatient care. Caregivers have an integral role in psychotherapy for suicidal youth. In addition to improving our ability to predict acute suicidal risk, the goal of this project is to inform the development of new psychotherapeutic strategies for treating suicidal youth.

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Project CARE: Computer Assisted Risk Evaluation

The goal of our study is to better understand teens' self-harm and risk for suicide. We hope that by collecting pictures and information about scars, we will be able to build a tool to help doctors and other healthcare workers better understand self-injury and improve teens' mental health.

Inpatient

Community

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Machine Learning

Leveraging computer vision to augment suicide risk prediction

 

MPIs: Taylor Burke & Thomas Serre


Funding: National Institute of Mental Health R21 MH127231

 

This project aims to utilize cutting-edge computer vision techniques to automate the visual assessment of self-injury severity and determine the utility of these visual signals in predicting prospective suicide attempt risk. This proof-of-concept study will set the stage to pursue our long-term goal of integrating this technology into psychiatric care entry-points (e.g., EDs) to assess whether it can serve as a clinical decision-support tool.

Evaluating the predictive validity of computational markers of self-injury among high-risk youth

 

PI: Taylor Burke


Funding: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention YIG-1-030-20

 

The objective of this study is to extend ongoing research supported by a National Institute of Mental Health-funded R21 aimed at utilizing computer vision techniques to automate the assessment of self-injury visual severity indicators and to determine the utility of these visual signals in predicting suicide risk. This study will fund the recruitment of a sample of psychiatrically hospitalized adolescents followed prospectively. One month after psychiatric hospitalization discharge, adolescents will be assessed for prospective engagement in suicide attempts. Deep convolutional neural networks will be applied to the images to detect severity indices of self-injury and to examine their accuracy in predicting prospective suicide attempt risk in this high-risk clinical sample.

To learn more about Project CARE, visit its website: mghprojectcare.org

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Project INSIGHT: Identifying Novel Signals of Idiographic Health-risk among Teens

The goal of this project is to employ mobile sensing and actigraphy to assess whether acute behavioral changes from typical patterns of social engagement, sleep, and physical activity indicate proximal risk for increases in suicidal ideation in high-risk adolescents.

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Passive assessment of behavioral warning signs for suicide risk in adolescents: An idiographic approach

 

PI: Taylor Burke


Funding: National Institute of Mental Health K23 MH126168

 

The goal of this project is to employ mobile sensing and actigraphy to assess whether objectively and passively measured acute behavioral changes from typical patterns of social engagement, sleep, and physical activity indicate proximal risk for increases in suicidal ideation using idiographic n-of-1 models in high-risk adolescents. This study aims to set the stage to develop and test the efficacy of personalized brief treatments.

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Project Anchor

The goal of this project is to recruit parents and guardians who use Bark to learn more about their experiences receiving alerts that their child may be at risk of self-harm and suicide. We hope to use results from this study to design interventions to help parents and guardians navigate these alerts in the future.

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Helping parents navigate child suicide risk

 

Co-Investigator: Taylor Burke (PI: Kathryn Fox)


Funding: Mental Research Institute

 

The purpose of this grant is to better understand guardians’ experiences learning that their child may be at risk for suicide or self-harm. Results will inform the development of a digital intervention for guardians aimed at helping guardians keep their children safe while managing their own emotional reactions, maintaining relationships, and maximizing child autonomy. After intervention development, a randomized control trial will be conducted to assess its efficacy. If efficacious, this intervention will be rolled out in a scalable manner through partnership with industry.

To learn more about Project Anchor, visit its website: projectanchor.org

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Project SPACE: Study of Parents' And Children's Experiences with Suicide

This project aims to examine how parent-child stress interactions may be associated with or protect against suicide risk in adolescents using automatic sensing of acoustic and visual behaviors.

Inpatient

Parents/Guardians

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Machine Learning

Multimodal dynamics of parent-child interactions and suicide risk

 

MPIs: Richard Liu & Taylor Burke


Funding: National Institute of Mental Health R21 MH130767

 

This project aims to examine how parent-child stress interactions may be associated with or protect against suicide risk in adolescents using automatic sensing of acoustic and visual behaviors.

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Project SCIPS: Self-Criticism and Interpersonal stress Predicting Suicide

The goal of this project is to better understand contexts in which teens at are increased risk for suicide, and to identify novel targets for clinical intervention.

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Examining the interplay of negative social experiences and self-criticism on suicide risk in the lab and daily life

 

PI: Lauren Haliczer

Sponsor: Richard Liu

Co-Sponsors: Taylor Burke, Evan Kleiman, Heather Schatten, & Leslie Brick


Funding: National Institute of Mental Health F32 MH131285

 

Suicide is a major public health concern among youth. Despite decades of research focused on prediction and prevention, our ability to predict when teens are most at risk remains poor. Adolescence is a time period characterized by high social stress, and negative social experiences (e.g., rejection, criticism) have been linked to suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Self-criticism is one modifiable variable that may be associated with acute suicide risk in the context of such negative social experiences.

The present study will explore whether increases in self-critical thoughts and self-conscious feelings (e.g., shame, guilt) in response to (1) a lab-based social stressor, and (2) social stressors in everyday life predict imminent risk for suicidal thoughts and behaviors (measured both in the lab and on a momentary basis). The ultimate goal of this project is to better understand contexts in which teens at are increased risk for suicide, and to identify novel targets for clinical intervention.

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