Photo: Courtesy of Husseini K. Manji

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Husseini K. Manji, MD
The Depression Slayer
Experts used to think depression resulted from an imbalance of neurotransmitters, but research now indicates the cause is more complicated. One leader of the new thinking is Husseini Manji, who’s provided evidence that the underlying factor may be changes in the health of neurons and the way they communicate with one another. This shift has ignited the search for better drugs at Janssen, a Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical company, where Manji oversees 200 scientists. He believes that developing effective medication not only helps those with mental illness but fights the stigma that surrounds it. “When a treatment helps people improve or get well, everyone suddenly says, ‘So this is a medical condition after all!’” Outside the lab, he has teamed up with former congressman Patrick Kennedy on a global initiative to change the way people think about mental illness.