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We know that diagnosing and treating depression and bipolar disorder is complicated and challenging for patients and their families. At the University of Iowa Mood Disorders Center, we are determined to better understand the underlying biological and psychological features of mood disorders, how patients cope, and what treatments are most effective. Beyond the research and clinical care of today, we want to educate patients, families, and future mental health care providers to improve the outcomes of those affected by depression or bipolar disorder.

The University of Iowa is no stranger to mood disorders. Our rich history of researchers and clinicians spans decades and has brought forth some of the most important discoveries in the understanding causes and treatments of depression and bipolar disorder.

In 1946, Dr. Paul Heston demonstrated the effectiveness of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) for treating suicidality in depression. In the 1960s, Dr. Martin Gal was a leader in understanding serotonin and its importance in treating depression. In 1976,  Drs. Vasantkumar Tanna and George Winokur undertook the first molecular study of depression and genetics. In the early 2000s,  under the direction of Dr. Bob Robinson, the University of Iowa lead the way in improving lives of stroke patients by effectively treating depression following stroke. 

Since 1980, Dr. William Coryell has been researching the natural course of bipolar disorder and effectively gathered so much information that he was a leading influencer of the new diagnostic criteria for the diagnoses in the DSM-5.

While the researchers at the University of Iowa have been hard at work discovering causes and treatments for mood disorders, clinicians have been emphatically caring for patients with depression and bipolar disorder using a myriad of evidence based treatments. We offer a range of clinical services to accommodate the needs of all patients living with mood disorders.  

Our acute care inpatient unit has highly trained mood disorders specialists that understand the needs of individuals with depression and bipolar disorder. Our outpatient programs, including the Partial Hospitalization Program, medication management, psychotherapy, and social work services are administered by mental health professionals with extensive training in the symptoms and treatments of mood disorders.

Our Iowa Brain Stimulation Program offers classic treatments including ECT and a new treatment called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, or TMS.  In addition to the medicine-based treatment approaches, we encourage patients to participate in group based psychotherapy treatments such as our Mindfulness or Dialectical Behavioral Therapy programs.

Mood Disorders affect 20% of adults in the United States. That means that 1 in 5 people will experience depression or bipolar disorder at some point in their lifetime.  Join us in our mission to discover the causes and cures for mood disorders.

Clinical Care

We offer a range of clinical services to patients with mood disorders including outpatient psychiatric care, individual and group therapy, inpatient units, and partial hospitalization programs.


At the University of Iowa, we believe that learning is the cornerstone of tomorrow’s healthcare. Faculty in the Mood Disorders Center work closely with students and residents to ensure that health care providers of the future are prepared to care for patients with mood disorders.  Further, we believe that patients and families who know more about their diagnosis and treatment are more likely to achieve recovery, so we focus on educating patients and the community on the most up-to-date research available on mood disorders.


Science is at the heart of changing the lives of people with mood disorders. Researchers at the University of Iowa are working diligently to better understand the causes of, treatments for, and challenges presented by mood disorders. From understanding the genetics of suicide in bipolar disorder and depression to studying the effectiveness of specific interventions in depressed elders, our researchers explore a multitude of theories that may improve the lives of people with mood disorders.

Meet our team

Our award winning faculty is committed to providing exceptional clinical care, conducting cutting edge research, and training the next generation of mental health experts. 

To learn more about the Mood Disorders Center, call 855-924-4692 or email Program Director Amanda Heeren