Dr. Raison's Research Lab


Are you feeling depressed? If you are interested in particpating in a research study for an alternative treatment of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) please click here.

Dr. Charles Raison's Research Lab

Here at the University of Arizona we take pride in advancing our field of research with novel ideas and innovative techniques. Dr. Raison's Research Lab seeks to use cutting edge approaches in the study of  biological, psychological, and social processes to better understand how these domains of our existence interact to promote health and emotional well being or the development of disease. The laboratory is jointly sponsored by the Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences and the Department of Psychiatry within the College of Medicine at the University of Arizona.

In the most general sense, the Raison Lab conducts studies aimed at understanding how social and sensory pathways may be targeted as novel treatments of mood and anxiety disorders. 

Dr. Raison discussing his research to Alumni at UA Homecoming 2012
















The laboratory has a special interest in examining how psychological and social processes impact our immune function and how this promotes or hinders our own health and well-being. This novel research arises from recent scientific findings in fields ranging from psychoneuroimmunology, child development, and ecology to anthropology, Darwinian medicine and microbiology.

Dr. Raison's work focuses on inflammation & depression in response to illness and stress. He aims to translate neuro-biological findings into novel behavioral interventions, without the use of psychiatric medicines. These interventions  include teaching compassion meditation as a preventive health strategy and using anti-inflammatory medicines for treatment-resistant depression. The interests of the lab are with trying to help fight depression, and other mood altering states without the use of psychiatric drugs by harnessing our body's own power and ability.















One of Dr. Raison's most recent endeavors included a trip to India to speak for the Dalai Lama.






















Click on the research topics to learn more

Fractal Compassion: Bugs, Immunity, and the Tribal Mind

Slides from a recent presentation by Dr. Raison on the evolutionary connections between our bodies, minds and depression and how lessons from our past may hold keys to our future treatment of psychiatric disorders. 

Cognitively-based compassion training (CBCT)

Cognitively-Based Compassion training, or, CBCT, is a secular technique derived from Tibetan Buddhist practices for enhancing one's sense of caring for self and others.

Enhancing Psychotherapy for Mood Disorders with Whole-Body Hyperthermia

The purpose of this study is to test whether one session of whole-body infrared heating can enhance psychotherapy treatment.  

An Examination of the Effects of Running Shoes and Depression

The purpose of this study is to examine the physiological and behavioral effects from the use of minimally shod or five finger running shoes (right) and standard running shoes.

Whole-body Hyperthermia and Depression

Research suggests that there is a pathway between the brain and the skin with regard to depressive feelings. We believe that we have found a way to‚ activate anti-depressant pathways simply by placing individuals in a well-controlled, heated environment.

Meet Dr. Charles Raison

Charles Raison, MD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and the John and Doris Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences. Prior to this, he was an Associate Professor at Emory University.

Dr. Raison received his medical degree from Washington University in St Louis, Missouri, where he was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha and won the Missouri State Medical Association Award. He completed residency training at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute and Hospital in Los Angeles.

The recipient of several teaching awards, Dr. Raison has received research funding from the National Institute of Mental Health, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition to his activities at University of Arizona, Dr. Raison is the mental health expert for CNN.com.

Dr. Raison, his wife, and two sons are very excited and proud to call Tucson "home."

Click here to meet the research team

To learn more about Dr. Raison's research on stress and inflammation, click here to read a recent article featured in UANews.


If you are interested in learning more or helping contribute toward Dr. Raison's research endeavors, please contact us at (520) 621-0181 or kkelly@psychiatry.arizona.edu



If you are interested in supporting Dr. Raison's research with a donation, you may do so online by clicking here, or mailing it directly to the University of Arizona Department of Psychiatry at PO Box 245002, Tucson, AZ 85724. (Receipts are sent by the University of Arizona Foundation.)

Thank you for your interest in this important work.