Christian Webb, PhD

Director, Treatment and Etiology of Depression in Youth Laboratory

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry

McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School

Office: deMarneffe Building, office 240
Phone: 617-855-4429

Lab Website: https://WebbsLab.com

Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, 2012

B.A., Psychology, McGill University, 2005

Curriculum vitae

christian_webb

Research Interests

Dr. Webb is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Treatment and Etiology of Depression in Youth (TEDY) Laboratory. Dr. Webb and his staff study the mechanisms underlying symptom change in depression treatment. There is a large body of treatment outcome research attesting to the efficacy of psychotherapies, in particular, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for depression. However, the mechanisms through which patients improve—and why many fail to sufficiently improve—remain largely unknown, particularly for the treatment of depression in youth. A clearer understanding of the “active ingredients” of treatment and underlying mechanisms of symptom change may ultimately inform the development of more targeted—and ideally more effective and efficient—treatments for depression.

Dr. Webb’s lab also focuses on predicting treatment response in depression. Greater knowledge of variables predicting better or worse treatment response prior to the start of treatment may have important clinical implications regarding which interventions are best suited for whom, thus informing treatment selection. To date, we have strikingly little empirical data to usefully guide the selection of treatments for depressed individuals. In current clinical practice, treatment selection for depressed individuals is largely based on trial and error and clinician/patient preference. Rates of non-response to first-line depression treatment in primary care are high (~50-70 percent), resulting in protracted depressive episodes until an adequate treatment is found. Consistent with the goals of precision medicine, Dr. Webb’s most recent work is aimed at developing actionable, algorithm-guided treatment recommendations to improve outcomes for depressed individuals by matching them to the optimal intervention.

Dr. Webb has received several early career awards for his work on the treatment of depression, including from the American Psychological Association and the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies.