About Dr. Sublette

M. Elizabeth Sublette, MD, PhD – Lead Researcher

I am interested in the role of essential fatty acids in the neurobiology of mood disorders and suicide risk. As a clinician, I have seen first-hand how devastating depression can be. As a result, I have devoted my current research to learn more about mood disorders and brain function.

My previous studies have found links between low omega-3 fatty acids and risk of later suicide attempt and also a relationship between omega-3 blood levels and specific patterns of regional brain glucose uptake.

Using brain scanning, biochemical analysis, and clinical assessment, my current research projects seek to shed light on how human nutrition may directly affect the brain and ultimately influence mood.

Thank you for your interest in this NIMH-funded study. Your participation could help us further the medical community’s knowledge of the mechanisms of depression in bipolar disorder.

Professional History

Dr. Sublette is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology

Current Position

Dr. Sublette is currently an Assistant Professor of  Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University and a Research Scientist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute in the Molecular Imaging and Neuropathology Division (MIND).

MIND is committed to the following endeavors:

  • Investigating causes of mood disorders and suicidality through brain imaging
  • Researching effects of fatty acids on the brain and depression via the brain
  • Providing treatment to enrolled patients during course of the research study

Dr. Sublette’s research on the effects of fatty acids on brain and mood has been funded by:

Previous Positions

Following her psychiatry residency, Dr. Sublette was Chief of the Affective Disorders inpatient unit at Zucker Hillside Hospital, Long Island Jewish Medical Center.  She came to Columbia University in 2004 as the recipient of a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (T32) research fellowship in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.


Dr. Sublette received an MD and a PhD in Neuroscience from the State University of New York,  Downstate. Her doctoral dissertation concerned the purification and characterization of protein kinase C from bovine brain.

Medical School SUNY Downstate, M.D., 1998
Doctoral Degree SUNY Downstate, PH.D., 1998
Residency North Shore/Long Island Jewish/Zucker Hillside Hospital, Psychiatry Residency, 1998 – 2002
Fellowship Columbia University Medical Center, Child Psychiatry Research Fellowship, 2004-2006


Dr. Sublette is the recipient of a number of awards, including:

  • The Award for Excellence in Clinical Psychiatry, (SUNY Downstate Department of Psychiatry and The Brooklyn Psychiatric Society)
  • Outstanding Resident Award (Zucker Hillside Hospital)
  • Janssen Psychiatry Resident Award of Excellence
  • Outstanding Resident Award (National Institutes of Mental Health)

Selected Publications

Liu, J.J.,Galfalvy, H.C., Cooper, T., Oquendo, M.A., Grunebaum, M.F., Mann, J.J., Sublette, M.E.: “Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) status in major depressive disorder with comorbid anxiety disorders” Journal of Clinical Psychiatry (2013) 74; 7: 732-738.

Sublette, M.E., Segal-Isaacson, C.J., Cooper, T.B., Fekri, S., Vanegas, N., Galfalvy, H.C., Oquendo, M.A., Mann, J.J.: “Validation of a food frequency questionnaire to assess intake of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in participants with and without Major Depressive Disorder” Journal of the American Dietetic Association (2011) 111:117-123.

Sublette, M.E., Ellis, S.P, Geant, A.L., Mann, J.J.: “Meta-analysis: Effects of Eicosapentaenoic Acid in Clinical Trials in Depression” Journal of Clinical Psychiatry (2011) 72;12:1577-1584.

Sublette, M.E., Galfalvy, H.G., Fuchs, D., Lapidus, M., Grunebaum, M., Oquendo, M.A., Mann, J.J., Postolache, T.T.: “Plasma kynurenine levels are elevated in suicide attempters with major depressive disorder” Brain, Behavior and Immunity (2011) 25;6:1272-1278.

Sublette, M.E., Carballo, J.J., Moreno, C., Galfalvy, H.C., Brent, D.A., Birmaher, B., Mann, J.J., Oquendo, M.A.: Substance Use Disorders and Suicide Attempts in Bipolar Subtypes. Journal of Psychiatric Research 2009;43:230-238.

Sublette, M.E., Milak, M.S., Hibbeln, J.R., Freed, P.J., Oquendo, M.A., Malone, K.M., Parsey, R.V., John Mann, J.: Plasma polyunsaturated fatty acids and regional cerebral glucose metabolism in major depression. Prostaglandins Leukotrienes & Essential Fatty Acids 2009;80:57-64

Sublette, M.E., Baca-Garcia, E. Parsey, R.V. Oquendo, M.A. Rodrigues, S.M., Galfalvy, H., Huang, Y.-Y., Arango, V., Mann, J.J.: Effect of BDNF val66met polymorphism on age-related amygdala volume changes in healthy subjects. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry 2008;32(7):1652-5.

Sublette ME, Bosetti F, DeMar JC, Ma K, Bell JM, Fagin-Jones S, Russ MJ, Rapoport SI.: Plasma free polyunsaturated fatty acid levels are associated with symptom severity in acute mania. Bipolar Disorders 2007;9:759–765

Sublette ME, Hibbeln JR, Galfalvy H, Oquendo MA, Mann JJ: Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Essential Fatty Acid Status as a Predictor of Future Suicide Risk.  American Journal of Psychiatry 2006;163:1100-1102

Sublette ME, Russ MJ, Smith G : Evidence For a Role of the Arachidonic Acid Cascade in Affective Disorders: a Review. Bipolar Disorders Journal 2004;6:95-105

We are now recruiting people to participate in a research study that investigates the effects of fatty acids in bipolar depression.

You may be able to help our efforts by participating in an NIH-funded research study. [Learn More]
Funded by: R-21 exploratory/developmental research grant MH096255