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Maria Ironside, DPhil

McLean Hospital Title:
Harvard Medical School Title:
  • Research Fellow in Psychiatry


Maria Ironside, DPhil, investigates the neurobiological mechanisms underlying depression and anxiety disorders. Her doctoral work explored the mechanisms of action of a novel antidepressant treatment—transcranial direct current stimulation—using cognitive neuropsychological tasks, stress hormone measures, and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The ultimate aim of this work is to establish biomarkers of treatment response which could aid future treatment selection.

At McLean, Dr. Ironside is working on two, five-year projects examining the effects of stress and sex steroid hormones on reward learning and anhedonia in depression. These projects take a multimodal approach, with fMRI, magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), positron emission tomography (PET), as well as measures of various hormone, genetic, and inflammatory markers. The focus of this research is to build a detailed neurobiological profile of the (gender-dependent) effects of stress on reward learning, anhedonia, and depression to establish multidimensional targets for treatment.




PubMed search for Dr. Ironside

Education & Training:

  • 2004 BA in Economic and Social Studies, Trinity College Dublin
  • 2010 MSc in Cognitive and Decision Sciences, University College London
  • 2012 MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience, University of London, Birkbeck
  • 2016 DPhil in Psychiatry, University of Oxford
  • 2016-Present Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship, Laboratory for Translational and Affective Neuroscience, McLean Hospital
  • 2017-Present The John and Charlene Madison Cassidy Fellowship in Translational Neuroscience




Office Address:

Belmont campus - de Marneffe Building, Room 231