Mary L. Phillips, MD, MD (CANTAB)

  • Professor, Psychiatry




Personal Website

website link

Education & Training

MD, Cambridge University, UK (1989)
MD, (Cantab) Cambridge University, UK (2000)

Campus Address

Suite 305 Loeffler Bldg., 121 Meyron Avenue

One-Line Research Description

Identifying neural circuitry problems that underlie abnormal emotion processing in adults and youth with mood disorders.

Through my research, my goals are to 1. Identify specific structural, white matter, and functional abnormalities in these neural circuitries that may distinguish different types of depressive illness, including bipolar and recurrent unipolar depression; 2. Identify specific structural, white matter, and functional abnormalities in these neural circuitries that are associated with different symptom profiles and dimensions, including anhedonia and, more recently, sensation seeking, across individuals with different mood disorders; 3. Identify structural and functional abnormalities in these neural circuitries in youth at future risk of major psychiatric disorders; 4. Identify peripheral measures of lipid oxidative stress that are associated with brain white matter abnormalities in individuals across the mood disorder spectrum, and across the mood-psychotic disorders spectrum; 5. Using pattern recognition techniques to identify individual-level patterns of functioning and structure in larger-scale neural circuitry that may help classify individuals, case by case, into diagnostic groups, or along a dimension of pathology, that in turn can help predict future functional outcomes; 6. Examining the contribution of genetic variation to functional and structural abnormalities in the above neural circuitries in individuals with mood and psychotic disorders, and in youth at future risk of these disorders; 7. In collaboration with basic neuroscientists, to identify how animal models may inform understanding of pathophysiologic processes underlying major mood and psychotic disorders, and 8. Identify new neural targets for novel neuromodulation interventions for mood disorders based on elucidation of neural circuitry abnormalities above

Representative Publications


Manelis A, Iyengar S, Swartz H, Phillips M.  Prefrontal cortical activation during working memory tasks anticipation contributes to discrimination between bipolar and unipolar depression.  Neuropsychopharmacology.  2020 Feb 18 [Epub ahead of print] 


Oliveira L, Portugal LCL, Pereira M, Chase HW, Bertocci M, Stiffler R, Greenberg T, Bebko G, Lockovich J, Aslam H, Mourao-Miranda J, Phillips ML. Predicting Bipolar Disorder risk factors in distressed young adults from patterns of brain activation to reward: a machine learning approach. Biol Psychiatry: CNNI. 2019 Aug;4(8):726-733. doi: 10.1016/j.bpsc.2019.04.005. Epub 2019 Apr 17. [PMCID: PMC6682607]


Hanford LC, Eckstrand K, Manelis A, Hafeman DM, Merranko J, Ladouceur CD, Graur S, McCaffrey A, Monk K, Bonar LK, Hickey MB, Dwojak AC, Goldstein TR, Goldstein BI, Axelson D, Bebko G, Bertocci MA, Gill MK, Birmaher B, Phillips ML.  The impact of familial risk and early life adversity on emotion and reward processing networks in youth at-risk for bipolar disorder.  PLoS One.  2019 December 12; 14(12):  e0226135.  [PMCID:  PMC6907842]


Sha Z, Edmiston EK, Versace A, Fournier JC, Graur S, Greenberg T, Santos JPL, Chase HW, Stiffler RS, Bonar L, Hudak R, Yendiki A, Greenberg BD, Rasmussen S, Liu H, Buckner R, Quirk G, Haber S, Phillips ML.  Functional disruption of cerebello-thalamo-cortical networks in obsessive compulsive disorder.  Biological Psychiatry:  CNNI.  2019 December 13 [Epub ahead of print]


Acuff HE, Versace A, Bertocci MA, Ladouceur CD, Hanford LC, Manelis A, Monk K, Bonar L, McCaffrey A, Goldstein BI, Goldstein TR, Sakolsky D, Axelson D, LAMS Consortium, Birmaher B, Phillips ML (2018). Association of neuroimaging measures of emotion processing and regulation neural circuitries with symptoms of bipolar disorder in offspring at risk for bipolar disorder. JAMA Psychiatry 75(12):1241-1251. [PMCID: PMC6528787]


Chase HW, Fournier JC, Bertocci M, Greenberg T, Aslam H, Stiffler R, Lockovich J, Graur S, Bebko G, Forbes EE, Phillips ML (2017). A pathway linking reward circuitry, impulsive sensation seeking and risky decision making in young adults: identifying neural markers for new interventions. Transl Psychiatry 7(4): e1096. [PMCID: PMC5416701]


Bertocci MA, Bebko G, Versace A, Fournier J, Iyengar S, Olino T, Bonar L, Almeida JR, Perlman SB, Schirda C, Travis M, Gill MK, Diwadkar VA, Forbes E, Sunshine JL, Holland SK, Kowatch RA, Birmaher B, Axelson D, Horwitz SM, Frazier TW, Arnold LE, Fristad MA, Youngstrom EA, Findling RL, Phillips ML (2016). Predicting clinical outcome from reward circuitry function and white matter structure in youth. Mol Psychiatry 21(9):1194-201. [PMCID: PMC4993633]


Versace A, Acuff H, Bertocci M , Bebko G , Almeida JCR , Perlman S , Leemans A , Schirda C , Aslam H , Dwojak A, Bonar L , Travis MJ , Gill MK , Demeter C , Diwadkar V , Sunshine J , Holland S , Kowatch R , Birmaher B , Axelson D , Horwitz S , Frazier T , Arnold LE , Fristad M , Youngstrom E , Findling R , Phillips ML. (2015). White Matter Structure in Youth with Behavioral and Emotional Dysregulation Disorders: a Probabilistic Tractographic Study. JAMA Psychiatry 72(2):367-76. [PMCID: PMC4415624]


Bebko, G., Bertocci, M.A., Fournier, J.C., Hinze, A.K., Bonar, L., Almeida, J.R.C., Perlman, S.B., Versace, A., Schirda, C., Travis, M., Gill, M.K., Demeter, C., Diwadkar, V.A., Ciuffetelli, G., Rodriguez, E., Olino, T., Forbes, E., Sunshine, J.L., Holland, S.K., Kowatch, R.A., Birmaher, B., Axelson, D., Horwitz, S.M., Arnold, L.E., Fristad, M.A., Youngstrom, E.A., Findling, R.L. and Phillips, M.L. Parsing dimensional versus diagnostic category-related patterns of reward circuitry function in behaviourally and emotionally dysregulated youth in the Longitudinal Assessment of Manic Symptoms (LAMS) study. JAMA Psychiatry. Published online November 27. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.2870, 2013. 


Caseras, X., Lawrence, N.S., Murphy, K., Wise, R.G. and Phillips, M.L. Ventral striatum activity in response to reward: differences between bipolar I and II disorders. American Journal of Psychiatry. 1;170 (5):533-41. [PMID: 23558337] 2013. 


Versace, A., Andreazza, A.C., Young, T.L., Fournier, J.C., Almeida, J.R.C., Stiffler, R.S., Lockovich, J.C., Aslam, H.A., Pollock, M.H., Park, H., Nimgaonkar, V.L., Kupfer, D.J. and Phillips, M.L. Elevated serum measures of lipid peroxidation and abnormal prefrontal white matter in euthymic bipolar adults: toward peripheral markers of bipolar disorder. Molecular Psychiatry. doi: 10.1038/mp.188 [PMCID:PMC3640681] 2012. 


Moses-Kolko, E., Perlman, S., Wisner, K.L., James, J., Saul, T. and Phillips, M.L. Abnormally reduced dorsomedial prefrontal cortical activity and effective connectivity with amygdala in response to negative emotional faces in postpartum depression. Am J Psychiatry 167(11): 1373-1380. [PMCID: PMC3293151] 2010 


Versace, A., Almeida, J.R., Hassel, S., Walsh, N.D., Novelli, M., Klein, C.R., Kupfer, D.J. and Phillips, M.L. Elevated left and reduced right orbitomedial prefrontal fractional anisotropy in adults with bipolar disorder revealed by tract-based spatial statistics. Arch Gen Psychiatry 65(9): 1041-1052, 2008. [PMCID: PMC2730162]