McMaster University

McMaster University

Benicio N. Frey

Benicio N. Frey

MD, MSc, PhD

Associate Professor, Psychiatry & Behavioural Neurosciences

Mood Disorders Program & Women’s Health Concerns Clinic, SJH


Tel:  (905) 522-1155 Ext. 33605

Fax: (905) 521-6098


Education and Career

Dr. Frey is Associate Professor at the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, and the Academic Head of the Mood Disorders Program, McMaster University and Clinical Director of the St. Joseph's Healthcare Mood Disorders Program and the Women’s Health Concerns Clinic. He completed his M.D. and specialization in Psychiatry at the Federal Medical School of Porto Alegre, Brazil, and his M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Biochemistry at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Dr. Frey completed a Research Fellowship at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (Texas), working with brain imaging in bipolar disorder patients. Subsequently, Dr. Frey did a Postdoctoral Fellowship in brain imaging at the Montreal Neurological Institute (McGill University), where he conducted a PET imaging study correlating serotonin synthesis and 5HT1A receptor binding in the human brain. In 2008, Dr. Frey received a CIHR postdoctoral fellowship award to study brain imaging in perimenopausal women with depression, under supervision of Dr. Claudio Soares and Dr. Meir Steiner at the Women’s Health Concerns Clinic, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. Dr. Frey is also a previous recipient of a fellowship award from Father O’Sullivan Research Centre (SJH).

Research Interests

Dr. Frey is interested in understanding the cerebral mechanisms involved in the neurobiology of bipolar and major depressive (unipolar) disorder, with an emphasis in female-related psychiatric conditions. He is also involved with numerous projects investigating the use of peripheral biomarkers in the course of bipolar and unipolar disorders. In some of his current research projects, Dr. Frey is applying brain imaging techniques (fMRI, MR Spectroscopy and Cortical Thickness Analysis) before and after treatment of perimenopausal women with depression using various antidepressant agents. He is also a co-investigator in a project looking at emotional regulation in offsprings of individuals with bipolar disorder using fMRI. He has had more than 70 publications accepted in peer-reviewed journals and has presented his work in numerous national and international conferences. In addition, he supervises graduate and undergraduate students in various research projects.

Clinical/Education Interests

Dr. Frey is the Director of the Women’s Health Concerns Clinic (SJH) and the Academic Head of the Mood Disorders Program (CMHS). He is also the Associate Director of the MiNDS Neuroscience Graduate Program at McMaster University. His clinical/educational interests involve teaching residents and medical students in the assessment and treatment of individuals with bipolar disorder and depression, as well as mood disturbances associated with premenstrual phase, pregnancy, postpartum and menopause transition.

Selected Publications

Frey BN, Andreazza AC, Frye MA, et al. Biomarkers in bipolar disorder. Aust N Z J Psychiatry (In press).

Yatham LN, Kennedy SH, Parikh SV, Shaeffer A, Beaulieu S, Alda M, O’Donovan C, MacQueen G, McIntyre RS, Sharma V, Ravindran A, Young LT, Milev R, Bond D, Frey BN, et al. Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments (CANMAT) and International Society for Bipolar Disorders (ISBD) collaborative update of CANMAT guidelines for the management of patients with bipolar disorder: update 2013. Bipolar Disorders 2013; 15(1):1-44.

Frey BN, Minuzzi L. Co-morbid bipolar disorder and premenstrual dysphoric disorder: Real patients, unanswered questions. Arch Womens Ment Health 2013; 16(1):79-81.

Frey BN, Simpson W, Wright L, Steiner M. Sensitivity and specificity of the mood disorder questionnaire as a screening tool for bipolar disorder during pregnancy and the postpartum period. J Clin Psychiatry 2012; 73(11):1456-61.

Grande I, Kapczinski F, Stertz L, Colpo GD, Cereser KM, Kauer-Sant’Anna M, Frey BN, et al. Peripheral brain-derived neurotrophic factor changes along treatment with extended release quetiapine during acute mood episodes: An open-label trial in drug-free patients with bipolar disorder. J Psychiatr Res 2012; 46(11):1511-4.

Lokuge S, Frey BN, Foster JA, Soares CN, Steiner M. Neurobiological basis of depression in women: New insights into the link between estrogen and serotonin. J Clin Psychiatry 2011; 72(11):1563-9.

Frey BN, Skelin I, Sakai Y, Nishikawa M, Diksic M. Gender differences in -[11C]MT brain trapping, an index of serotonin synthesis, in medication-free individuals with major depressive disorder: a positron emission tomography study. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging 2010; 183(2):157-66.

Frey BN, Hall G, Attard S, et al. Shift in the brain network of emotional regulation in midlife women: Is the menopausal transition the turning point? Menopause 2010; 17(4):840-5.

Matsuo K, Walls-Bass C, Nery FG, Nicoletti MA, Hatch JP,Frey BN, et al. Neuronal correlates of brain-derived neurotrophic factor Val66Met polymorphism and morphometric abnormalities in bipolar disorder. Neuropsychopharmacology 2009; 34(8):1904-13.

Frey BN, Zunta-Soares GB, Caetano SC, et al. Illness duration and total brain gray matter in bipolar disorder: evidence for neurodegeneration?European Neuropsychopharmacology2008; 18(10):717-22.

Frey BN, Lord C, Soares CN. Depression during menopausal transition: a review of treatment strategies and pathophysiological correlates. Menopause International 2008; 14(3):123-8.

Frey BN, Rosa-Neto P, Lubarsky S, Diksic M. Correlation between serotonin synthesis and 5-HT1Areceptor binding in the living human brain: a combined [11C]-╬▒MT and [18F] MPPF positron emission tomography study.Neuroimage2008; 42(2):850-7.

Andreazza AC, Kauer-Sant’Anna M, Frey BN, et al. Oxidative stress markers in bipolar disorder: a meta-analysis. Journal of Affective Disorders 2008; 111(2-3):135-44.

Bearden CE, Thompson PM, Dutton RA,Frey BN, et al. Three-dimensional mapping of hippocampal anatomy in unmedicated and lithium-treated patients with bipolar disorder.Neuropsychopharmacology2008; 33(6):1229-38.

Frey BN, Walss-Bass C, Stanley JA, et al. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor val66met polymorphism affects prefrontal energy metabolism in bipolar disorder.Neuroreport2007; 8(15):1567-1570.

Frey BN, Andreazza AC, Nery FG, et al. The role of hippocampus in the pathophysiology of bipolar disorder.Behavioural Pharmacology2007; 18(5-6):419-430.

Frey BN, Stanley JA, Nery FG, et al. Abnormal cellular energy and phospholipid metabolism in the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex of medication-free individuals with bipolar disorder: an in vivo 1H MRS study.Bipolar Disorders2007; 9(Suppl 1):119-127.

Tramontina J,Frey BN, Andreazza AC, et al. Val66met polymorphism and serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels in bipolar disorder.Molecular Psychiatry2007; 12(3):230-231.

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