Pestian Research Lab

Computational Based Neuropsychiatric Research


John Pestian, PhD, MBA's headshot.

John Pestian, PhD, MBA

In my lab, we use advanced computational approaches to discover knowledge that will reduce the misery of those who suffer from neuropsychiatric illnesses.

Discovering knowledge is one thing, and getting it in the hands of caregivers is another. So, we disseminate it any way we can—publications, teaching, seminars, and commercialization.

Answering today's scientific questions requires a diverse team of experts. The questions are just too complex for solo investigation.

Some of our clinical projects include epilepsy, neurosurgery, adolescent suicide classification, Alzheimer’s disease, and veteran suicide prevention. The common thread is that we teach computers how to understand emotions in text and voice. The tools to do this include artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing, computational linguistics, and clinical expertise, to name a few.

In all of our efforts, we are part of teams that include computational and data scientists, clinicians, clinical trial experts, software developers, and project managers from academia and federal agencies.

Together, we have developed new ways to diagnose those we serve.

For example, Dr. Pestian and Drs. Tracy A. Glauser, Richard J. Wenstrup, and Alexander A. Vinks have identified methods that determine the optimal neuropsychiatric drug. Those methods were patented and commercially licensed. By December 2019, this discovery had been used to help more than 1.5 million people, and hundreds more are helped every day.

In another example, Drs. Pestian and Glauser, et al, developed computational algorithms that are based on the human decision-making process. We call this spreading activation, and it now serves as the basis of our approach for computationally based machine learning that is used in our projects.

Join our Lab

Contact John Pestian ( if you'd like to join us or volunteer. Click here for more information on our PhD program.

Collaborate with Us

If you have a computationally based neuropsychiatric research or consulting project and you think collaborating with our world-class team might be helpful, we would welcome the opportunity to discuss your ideas. Contact John Pestian ( to discuss next steps.

In the News

Listen to the WVXU 97.1 radio interview "How Schools Can Address Teen Mental Health Issues."

Read the Cincinnati Business Courier article regarding the innovation fund "EXCLUSIVE: Cincinnati Children’s to bring its best innovations to market."

Read the Cincinnati Magazine article "Last Words."

Read the USA Today article “Researchers Out to Save Living with Suicide Notes.

Read the Research Horizons article “The Language of Suicide.

Listen to the interview on NPR’s Talk of the Nation titled “Analyzing the Language of Suicide Notes to Help Save Lives.

Learn about the app that analyzes the language of suicide.