Martin Alda

Professor and Killam Chair in Mood Disorders


Phone: 902-473-2712
Mailing Address: 
Department of Psychiatry, Mood Disorders Clinic
Room 3088 AJLB
5909 Veterans' Memorial Lane
Halifax, NS B3H 2E2
Research Topics:
  • Mood disorders
  • Lithium
  • Clinical research
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Psychiatric genetics
  • Pharmacogenetics
  • Genetics of complex traits
  • Heterogeneity of psychiatric disorders


Related information


MD, Charles University, Prague, Czechoslovakia
FRCPC, Post-doctorate, University of Ottawa

Research interests

Dr. Alda is interested in three main questions 1) mapping genes for bipolar disorder using innovative phenotypic approaches; 2) better understanding of the brain structure and function in the development and progression of mood disorders; and 3) optimization of long term treatment and outcome in people with bipolar disorder.

Selected publications  

  • Mertens J, Wang QW, Kim Y, Yu DX, Pham S, Yang B, Zheng Y, Diffenderfer KE, Zhang J, Soltani S, Eames TJ, Schafer ST, Boyer L, Marchetto MC, Nurnberger JI, Calabrese JR, Odegaard KJ, McCarthy MJ, Zandi PP, Alda M, Nievergelt CM, The Pharmacogenomics of Bipolar Disorder Study, Mi S, Brennand KJ, Kelsoe JR, Gage FH, Yao J: Differential responses to lithium in hyperexcitable neurons from patients with bipolar disorder. Nature 527: 95 - 99, 2015.
  • Hou L, Heilbronner U, Degenhardt F.. Kelsoe J, Alda M, Rietschel M, McMahon FJ, Schulze TG: Genetic variants associated with response to lithium treatment in bipolar disorder: a genome-wide association study. Lancet 387: 1085 - 1093, 2016.
  • Amare AT, Schubert KO, Hou L … Bauer M, Alda M, Rietschel M, McMahon FJ, Schulze TG, Baune BT: Association of polygenic score for schizophrenia and HLA antigen and inflammation genes with response to lithium in bipolar affective disorder: A Genome-Wide Association Study. JAMA Psychiatry 75: 65 - 74, 2018.
  • Mullins N, Forstner AJ, O'Connell KS … Alda M … Di Florio A, Ophoff RA, Andreassen OA: Genome-wide association study of more than 40,000 bipolar disorder cases provides new insights into the underlying biology. Nature Genetics 53: 817 - 829, 2021.
  • Nunes A, Stone W, Ardau R, Berghöfer A, Bocchetta A, Chilloti C, Deiana V, Degenhardt F, Forstner AJ, Garnham JS, Grof E, Hajek T, Manchia M, Mattheisen M, McMahon F, Müller-Oerlinghausen B, Nöthen MM, Pinna M, Pisanu C, O’Donovan C, Rietschel MDC, Rouleau G, Schulze T, Severino G, Slaney CM, Squassina A, Suwalska A, Turecki G, Uher R, Zvolsky P, Cervantes P, Del Zompo M, Grof P, Rybakowski J, Tondo L, Trappenberg T, Alda M: Exemplar scoring identifies genetically separable phenotypes of lithium responsive bipolar disorder. Translational Psychiatry 11: 36, 2021.

Selected awards and honours

  • Killam Chair in Mood Disorders (2007)
  • Douglas Utting Prize for research in mood disorders. Douglas Utting Foundation, Canada (2015)
  • Mogens Schou Award for Research. International Society for Bipolar Disorders (2016)
  • Heinz Lehmann Award. Canadian College of Neuropsychopharmacology, Toronto, Canada (2020)
  • Colvin Prize. Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, New York, U.S.A. (2020)
  • Dr. Aidan Stokes Award for Mentorship. Department of Psychiatry, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada (2021)
  • Max Forman Senior Research Prize. Dalhouise Medical Research Foundation, Halifax, Canada (2021)
  • Medal for contribution to the field of psychiatry. Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic (2021)



  • Supervision / co-supervision of graduate students, postdoctoral and clinical fellows, undergraduate students, and psychiatry residents