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This profile was last updated on 1/22/15  and contains information from public web pages and contributions from the ZoomInfo community.

Co-Site Director

University of Michigan
1500 E. Medical Center Drive
Ann Arbor , Michigan 48109
United States

Company Description: University of Michigan has over $1.3 billion in annual research expenditures and more than 100 faculty involved in government- and industry-sponsored manufacturing...   more

Employment History

Board Memberships and Affiliations

  • Board Member
    Pritzker Neuropsychiatric Disorders Research Consortium
  • Board Member
    Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute at the University of Michigan
  • Board Member
    Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute
  • Board Member
    University of Michigan's Molecular & Behavioral Neuroscience Institute
  • Board Member
    Gardner C. Quarton Distinguished Professor of Neurosciences in the Department of Psychiatry
  • Board Member
    U-M Mental Health Research Institute
  • Member
    U-M Mental Health Research Institute
  • Neuroscience Advisory Board Member
    Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation
  • Board Member


  • PhD
    The University of Michigan
  • Ph.D. , behavioral neuroscience
    University of California , Los Angeles
  • bachelors , psychology
    American University of Beirut , Lebanon
  • master's degrees , psychology
    American University of Beirut , Lebanon
179 Total References
Web References
University of Michigan Depression Center, 22 Jan 2015 [cached]
Huda Akil
Huda Akil, PhD
Gardner Quarton Distinguished University Professor of Neuroscience and Psychiatry; Co-Director, Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute
Site Directors | Pritzker Consortium, 26 Mar 2014 [cached]
Photo of Huda Akil Huda Akil, Ph.D. is the Co-Site Director at the University of Michigan, where she is the Co-Director of the Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute and the Gardner C. Quarton Distinguished Professor of Neurosciences and Psychiatry. She received her B.S. in Psychology from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon and her Ph.D. in Biopsychology from the University of California, Los Angeles. She performed her postdoctoral work at Stanford University. She has served as the President of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology and the Society for Neuroscience. She has received numerous awards, including the Pasarow Foundation Award, the Patricia Goldman-Rakic Prize for Cognitive Neuroscience (NARSAD) and the Mike Salpeter Lifetime Achievement Award (SFN). She has been elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and the National Academy of Sciences.
Huda Akil's profile at the Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute >
But seeing whether that's true in ..., 13 May 2013 [cached]
But seeing whether that's true in the human brain is a lot tougher, said researcher Huda Akil.
If you want to look for daily rhythms in hormone activity, Akil said, you can take multiple blood samples from the same people over the course of 24 hours. You cannot, however, investigate the brain that way.
To get around the problem, Akil's team studied autopsied brain tissue from 89 people who had died at different times of day. That way, they could look at each person's gene activity at the time of death and search for differences from one individual to the next.
"Hundreds of genes emerged as having a rhythm based on the time of day," said Akil, a professor of neuroscience and psychiatry at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
That rhythm was clear in brain tissue from the 55 people with no history of psychiatric disorders. Akil said her team was able to look at an individual's gene activity and correctly guess that person's time of death within an hour.
They could not, however, do that for the 34 individuals who were suffering from major depression at the time of death. Their gene activity patterns were too varied.
"This is very clear evidence that the 'clock' in the brain is disrupted in depression," Akil said.
Either way, Akil said she thinks the out-of-sync genes would feed people's symptoms. Think about how bad you feel, she said, when the body's normal rhythms are thrown off due to jet lag.
In the future, Akil said, the findings might help lead to new "biomarkers" for diagnosing depression or tracking how well the disorder is responding to treatment.
The findings might also help identify new "molecular targets" for depression treatment, Akil said.
Right now, antidepressant drugs target certain chemicals in the brain believed to contribute to depression -- most famously, the mood-regulating chemical serotonin. But Akil said the new findings show that there are multiple things going wrong in the brain when a person has major depression.
"It's not only a serotonin imbalance," she said.
Huda Akil, Ph.D., the ..., 1 May 2013 [cached]
Huda Akil, Ph.D., the co-director of the U-M Molecular & Behavioral Neuroscience Institute and co-director of the U-M site of the Pritzker Neuropsychiatric Disorders Research Consortium, notes that the findings go beyond previous research on circadian rhythms, using animals or human skin cells, which were more easily accessible than human brain tissues.
"Hundreds of new genes that are very sensitive to circadian rhythms emerged from this research -- not just the primary clock genes that have been studied in animals or cell cultures, but other genes whose activity rises and falls throughout the day," she says.
The high quality of the brains, and the data gathered about how their donors lived and died, is essential to the project, Akil says.
In addition to Li and Akil, the study's authors are Blynn G. Bunney, Fan Meng, Megan H. Hagenauer, David M. Walsh, Marquis P. Vawter, Simon J. Evans, Prabakhara V. Choudary, Preston Cartagena, Jack D. Barchas, Alan F. Schatzberg, the late Edward G. Jones, Richard M. Myers, U-M MBNI co-director Stanley J. Watson, Jr., and William E. Bunney.
I'm going to look at interesting ..., 13 Sept 2013 [cached]
I'm going to look at interesting museums, and use my degree for education, for public information, for other things that are not production of new knowledge, or new scientific products, if you will, such as new drugs or treatments or strategies," said Huda Akil, Ph.D., co-director and research professor at the Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute at University of Michigan.
Dr. Akil's lab studies the neurobiology of emotions, from the molecular level to the brain circuit level in animal models and humans, seeking to understand the brain biology of psychiatric disorders, especially depression and bipolar illness. In May, Dr. Akil and Jun Z. Li, Ph.D., were corresponding authors of a 16-researcher team that in April saw publication in PNAS of their study presenting the first direct evidence of altered circadian rhythms in the brains of people with depression.
Akil and Li cobbled together money from numerous other sources.
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