Depression And Anxiety

Brian Harris

Incredible Researcher Uses Brain-Mapping To Help Teens With Depression And Anxiety

Dr. Yendiki is an incredible researcher. Her recent work will come as a good news for teens with anxiety and depression. Dr. Yendiki has created a brain-mapping tool called TRACULA that helps translates white-matter pathways in brain scans. This can be useful in studying various diseases. In collaboration with Boston Adolescent Neuroimaging of Depression and Anxiety project, Dr. Yendiki is heading the charge at Massachusetts General Hospital to analyze brain scans of teens with depression and anxiety. Her work will make it easy to detect, diagnose and treat teens. 

Dr. Yendiki work in the last few years has seen her garner lots of well deserved plaudits. She was named on the Fast Company’s Most Creative People List. 

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All through her life, she has faced adversity. Dr. Yendiki was born in Greece, where she studied electrical engineering. She later furthered her education in 2005, and earned a Ph.D. at University of Michigan. “I was told I couldn’t enter a STEM field because I was a woman. Such adversity gave me another push to succeed,” she said. 

“Looking back, I had to overcome depression some ten years ago,” Dr. Yendiki said. “The fact I was able to do that, made my other accomplishments possible.” Her personal story with the disease gives her another push. “We don’t get the immediate praise in this line of work,” she said. “You have to look at the big picture, and think about the future. 

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All through her journey, Dr. Yendiki has had people who she admires. The suffragettes, those founder to be heard when it was difficult to speak out, are those she admires. “When I face adversity, I always think about the suffragettes and what they had to go through. That is my motivation.” And to relax? “In do a lot of dancing to relax and release stress. I think you need to separate yourself from work, recharge and get back to it. 

Right now, Dr. Yendiki is an assistant professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School. She is still updating TRACULA and continuing to set the path in the world of white-matter image analysis. “One day at a time. I know there is still lots of room for improvement. I might not solve all the brain’s mysteries, but I can help with a tiny part.”

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