Cellular Aging and Neurobiology of Depression (CAN-D) Study


We are currently recruiting depressed adults (ages 21-60) for the Cellular Aging and Neurobiology of Depression (CAN-D) Study!

Study Description

The CAN-D Study is an NIMH-funded research study that seeks to gain a better understanding of how clinical depression affects hormones, certain indicators of cellular health, and aspects of neurobiology in adults, and to learn how these biological mechanisms change in response to clinical treatment with a standard (SSRI) antidepressant.

Study visits take place at the UCSF Parnassus Heights Medical Center and the SF Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center. Participants will have their blood drawn, mood and memory rated, and undergo magnetic resonance scanning (i.e. MRI) of their brain.  Following these initial “baseline” procedures, participants will begin an 8-week course of treatment with a standard FDA-approved antidepressant (a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor; SSRI), provided by a UCSF faculty psychiatrist. This is an "open label" study, which means no placebos are used and all participants are aware of the exact medication they are taking while enrolled in the study. After completing all "baseline" activities and beginning antidepressant treatment, participants will return to UCSF after four and eight weeks of treatment for follow-up evaluations (see "Study Procedures" below for details).

Study Procedures

Participant Requirements

If you are a fluent English-speaker between the ages of 21-60, who is currently suffering from symptoms of depression and is otherwise healthy (no significant uncontrolled illnesses) and you are not taking any antidepressant medications, you may be eligible. Please refer to the following checklist: 


Payment for completing all of study activities is $400, prorated as follows:

  • $25 for the In-Person Screening Visit.
  • $50 for the Baseline blood draw and cognitive/behavioral assessments.
  • $50 for the Baseline MRI.
  • $50 for the Week 4 blood draw and behavioral assessments.
  • $50 for the Week 8 blood draw and cognitive/behavioral assessments.
  • $50 for the Week 8 MRI.
  • $50 Study Completion Bonus.
  • Optional $75 for at-home stool collection prior to Baseline, Week 4, and Week 8 ($25 per sample).

You will be paid in the form of a check, which typically arrives within 2-4 weeks. You may choose to be paid in two parts (after Baseline & Week 8) or in one lump sum (after Week 8).

Contact Us

If you think you may be eligible and are interested in participating, please call 415-476-7254 or email [email protected] to schedule your phone screen!