Crystal Edler Schiller, PhD

My research focuses on the impact of ovarian hormones on behavior and brain function in women. My previous work has demonstrated that estrogen and progesterone play a role in bulimia nervosa, smoking behavior, and postpartum depression. I am currently conducting two projects funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and the Foundation of Hope using functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine how estrogen and progesterone influence emotion and reward processing. This research may improve our understanding of how hormonal changes across the lifespan precipitate affective dysfunction in some, but not all, women. By contributing to our knowledge of the biological basis of depression, this work may also serve to reduce the stigma and self-blame associated with mental illness in women. 

My research takes place at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Hospitals and has been supported by the National Institute of Mental Health, Foundation of Hope, North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute, and Brain and Behavior Research Foundation.


Current Projects

Postpartum Depression

Affective disorders, such as postpartum depression (PPD) and other reproductive-related mood disorders, are common and constitute a significant burden for women, children, and society. However, little is known about the neurobiological mechanisms underlying depressive disorders in women. The long-term goal of this research is to 1) advance our understanding of the biological mechanisms underlying both the triggering of and susceptibility to depressive disorders in women; and 2) permit the prediction of those at risk for PPD. 

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Perimenopausal Depression

Now enrolling!

Despite decades of research, mood disorders are prevalent and associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Unraveling the pathophysiology of affective disorders has been uniquely challenging because depressive syndromes are heterogeneous and have diverse etiologies. We propose to address this problem by studying perimenopausal major depressive disorder (MDD), a more homogeneous depression subtype with an established trigger (i.e., estradiol withdrawal).

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Please visit My NCBI Page for an up-to-date list of publications.

*Eisenlohr-Moul, T. A., Rubinow, D. R., Schiller, C. E., Johnson, J. L., Leserman, J. L., & Girdler, S. S. (in press). Histories of abuse predict stronger within-person covariation of ovarian steroids and mood symptoms in women with menstrually related mood disorder. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 

*Richardson, E. C., Schiller, C. E., & Fogel, C. I. (2016). The experience of pregnancy for women with bipolar disorder: An exploratory study. International Journal of Nursing Student Scholarship, 3, 1-18. PMCID: N/A

*Crowley, S. K., O'Buckley, T., Schiller, C. E., Stuebe, A., Morrow, A. L., Girdler, S. S. (2016). Blunted neuroactive steroid and HPA axis responses to stress are associated with reduced sleep quality and negative affect in pregnancy: a pilot study. Psychopharmacology, 233, 1299-1310.PMCID: pending

Martinez, P., Rubinow, D., Nieman, L., Koziol, D., Morrow, A., Schiller, C., Cintron, D., Thompson, K., Khine, K., & Schmidt, P. (in press). 5α-reductase inhibition prevents luteal increase in allopregnanolone and symptoms in PMDD. Neuropsychopharmacology. PMCID: pending

Schiller, C. E., Abate, A., Johnson, S. L., Schimdt, P. J., & Rubinow, D. R. (in press). Reproductive steroid regulation of mood and behavior. Comprehensive Physiology.

Crowther, A., Smoski, M. J., Minkel, J., Moore, T., Gibbs, D., Petty, C., Bizzell, J., Schiller, C. E., Sideris, J., Carl, H., & Dichter, G. S. (2015). Resting-state connectivity predictors of response to psychotherapy in major depressive disorder. Neuropsychopharmacology. PMCID: pending

Schiller, C. E., Meltzer-Brody, S., & Rubinow, D. R. (2015). The role of reproductive hormones in postpartum depression. CNS Spectrums, 20, 48-59. PMCID: PMC4363269

Schiller, C. E., Schmidt, P. J., & Rubinow, D. R. (2014). Allopregnanolone as a mediator of affective switching in reproductive mood disorders. Psychopharmacology, 231, 3557-3567. PMCID: 4135022

Schiller, C. E., Minkel, J., Smoski, M. J., Dichter, G. S. (2013). Remitted major depression is characterized by reduced prefrontal cortex reactivity to reward loss. Journal of Affective Disorders, 151, 756-762. PMCID: 3797197

Smoski, M. J., Keng, S. L., Schiller, C. E., & Dichter, G. S. (2013). Neural mechanisms of cognitive reappraisal in remitted major depressive disorder. Journal of Affective Disorders, 151, 171-177. PMCID: 3769432

Schiller, C. E., O'Hara, M. W., Rubinow, D. R., & Johnson, A. K. (2013). Estradiol modulates anhedonia and behavioral despair in rats and negative affect in a subgroup of women at high risk for postpartum depression. Physiology & Behavior, 119, 137-144. PMCID: 23770328

Schiller, C.E., Saladin, M. E., Gray, K. M., Hartwell, K. J., & Carpenter, M. J. (2012). The association between ovarian hormones and smoking behavior in women. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 20, 251-257. PMCID: PMC3660106

*Mott, S., Schiller, C. E., Richards, J. G., O’Hara, M. W., & Stuart, S. (2011). Depression and anxiety among postpartum and adoptive mothers. Archives of Women’s Mental Health, 14, 335-343. PMCID: PMC3433270

Klump, K. L., Keel, P. K., Culbert, K. C., & Edler, C. (2008). Ovarian hormones and binge eating: exploring associations in community samples. Psychological Medicine, 38, 1749-1757.  PMCID: PMC2885896

Edler, C., Haedt, A., & Keel, P. K. (2007). The use of multiple methods of purging as a marker of eating disorder severity. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 40, 515-520. PMCID: N/A

Edler, C., Lipson, S. F., & Keel, P. K. (2007). Ovarian hormones and binge eating in bulimia nervosa. Psychological Medicine, 37, 131-141. PMCID: N/A

Haedt, A. A., Edler, C., Heatherton, T. F., & Keel, P. K. (2006). Importance of multiple purging methods in the classification of eating disorder subtypes. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 39, 648-654.

Keel, P. K., Haedt, A., & Edler, C. (2005). Purging disorder: An ominous variant of bulimia nervosa? International Journal of Eating Disorders, 38, 191-199. PMCID: N/A

* The first author was an undergraduate honors student or postdoctoral fellow whom I helped supervise.