Welcome to the official blog for the RAD Lab! We are so excited to begin our journey posting quality information to help answer questions about teen mental health, to peel back the curtain on scientific research, and to foster ongoing relationships with our participants and their families.  

What is the RAD Lab?

The RAD Lab (Research in Adolescent Depression) is a collaborative team of researchers from the University of Minnesota dedicated to helping further information about teen mental health including mood disorders, self-harm, and suicide.

The focus of the RAD Lab began with interest in early intervention efforts for diagnosing and treating depression in teens. Over the past 10+ years, the lab has expanded to focus on many aspects of the underlying biology of adolescent mental health. While the primary focus of the lab still remains mood disorders, studies conducted by the lab also focus on self-harm, suicide, and brain development.

What is scientific research?

It’s fairly common to hear terms such as “studies show,” or “scientists have found” thrown around by everyone from newscasters to you next-door neighbor.  It’s always interesting to hear what the field of science is currently working on!

The RAD Lab works primarily in biomedical research. In other words, we use the tools of research in order to answer questions about specific conditions of the human body. Our research tools involve activities such as MRI, saliva testing, questionnaires, and eye tracking.

The other main body of research is social/behavioral research. This type of research uses tools such as interviews and observation in order to answer questions about human behavior and beliefs.

While the RAD Lab certainly uses some of the tools of social/behavioral research, we are primarily interested in investigating the underlying biological causes of mental health. As such, we require the tools of biomedical research in order to find answers to some of these questions.

What type of work does the RAD Lab do?

The RAD Lab works specifically with adolescents, and occasionally young adults, to answer questions about how the brain develops and changes, as well as how mental health interacts with brain development.

Many of the activities that the lab pursues are study specific, meaning that if you come in to participate in one study, you could be doing completely different activities than someone who participates in another study within the lab.

How can you get involved with the lab?

There are a number of possibilities for becoming involved with the RAD Lab, depending on your age and your interests.

Volunteer to Participate in Research

We are always looking for individuals to participate in our research! Most opportunities are for adolescents, but feel free to contact us with any interest. If we don’t have current openings in our lab, chances are we know another project that does!

Become a Volunteer

Volunteer positions in the RAD Lab fill up quickly, but we always appreciate meeting qualified and motivated undergraduate students who may be a good fit for the lab.

Engage with the Community

Beyond our research initiatives, the RAD Lab is committed to bringing information about teen mental health to the community. If you or your group is interested in hosting a talk about teen brain development, teen mental health, mood disorders, etc. please reach out! Past presentations have included parent groups, conventions, high school classes, and clinics. We will always work with you to customize the message to your group’s specific needs.