Neuropsychiatry Grand Rounds


Digital Phenotyping: A New Window on Cognition, Mood, and Behavior

Thomas R. Insel, MD
2019 Brain Awareness Week – Annual Distinguished Neuroethics Speaker
Co-founder and President
Mindstrong Health

Wednesday, March 13, 2019
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Room 1C13, Detwiller Pavilion, UBC Hospital

Wearables and smartphones give us unprecedented data about ourselves. With the power of machine learning much of that data can be used to provide a daily quantitative readout of how we are thinking, feeling, and behaving. This new approach, collectively called digital phenotyping, could yield the first objective “biomarkers” for mental disorders. In this talk, Dr. Insel will describe the search for patterns that forecast changes in mood using smartphone signals that are passive, ecological, and content-free. In addition to offering predictive biomarkers, linking these signals to real-time interventions promises to provide a closed loop learning healthcare system. When these signals are linked to direct measures of neural function, this digital approach could usher in a new era in behavioral neuroscience. But scientific and clinical progress here will only be possible if we are thoughtful about ethical, social, and legal implications of digital phenotyping.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the kinds of data collected by smartphones.
  • Appreciate the value of machine learning for converting signals into patterns of behavior.
  • Define digital phenotyping and recognize its promise in neuroscience and psychiatry.


The Neuroethics of Cognitive Enhancement

Peter B. Reiner, VMD, PhD
Professor, National Core for Neuroethics
University of British Columbia

February 22, 2017
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Room 1C13, Detwiller Pavilion, UBC Hospital