Oct 16, 2021
Dr. Amit Etkin is pioneering a revolution in the way mental
health medications are designed, developed, prescribed, and brought
to market. Precision psychiatry is the future of mental
health treatment and Dr. Etkin is leading the way with his drug
development platform, Alto Neuroscience. In this episode, Dr.
Etkin explains why psychiatric drugs have failed, what he is doing
about it and why it will work.
Prior to Alto Neuroscience, Dr. Etkin was a tenured professor in
the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford
University and a member of the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute. Dr.
Etkin has received multiple awards, most notably the NIH Director’s
Pioneer Award in 2017. He is trained as both a psychiatrist and
The overarching aim of his work in this field for the last 10
years is to understand the neural basis of emotional disorders and
their treatment, and to leverage this knowledge to better
understand how the brain works and to develop novel treatment
interventions. In support of this goal, Dr. Etkin also collaborates
with neuroscientists, engineers, psychologists, physicians, and
others to establish a new intellectual, scientific, and clinical
paradigm for understanding and manipulating human brain circuits in
healthy individuals and for treating psychiatric disease.
You can connect with Amit here: LinkedIn
Alto Neuroscience Website: https://www.altoneuroscience.com/
What If Fellowship: https://whatif.vc/fellowship
HERE ARE SOME OF THE THINGS WE TALKED
- Etkin shares his background, why he got into the field of
neuroscience, and why he is building Alto Neuroscience.
- We discuss the biggest needs in the clinical psychology world
is and how Alto Neuroscience will solve some of the greatest needs
in the mental health space.
- We talk about measurement & testing, as well as biomarkers
in the mental health space at large and why we are so far behind
other healthcare verticals when it comes to measurement and testing
in the mental health space.
- Etkin explains that one of the primary reasons bio-pharma
companies haven’t focused as much as they should on Central Nervous
System (CNS) drug development in the last couple of decades is
because we can’t effectively measure how the drugs are working. All
of that has changed now with the creation of Alto
- Amit talks about the concept of “precision psychiatry”, how
precision is utilized in other fields of medicine, and the
importance of using it in the mental health space to improve
- We discuss how the combination of measurement and precision
psychiatry can change psychiatry, drug development, and treatment
of mental health disorders both broadly on a macro level and
specifically with respect to his work at Alto Neuroscience.
- Amit shares about what Alto Neuroscience is currently working
on, the drugs they currently developing, and their vision for the
future of psychiatric medication.
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Connect with host Stephen Hays here: Stephen Hays Personal Website,
What If Ventures (Mental Health