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Mentors and their research

Mentors and their research:

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Robert Buchanan, M.D.

MPRC Director

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Outpatient Research Program

Dr. Buchanan's major research interests include schizophrenia phenomenology; the neuroanatoomical and behavioral investigation of the pathophysiology of schizophrenia; and the development of novel pharmacological approaches for negative symptoms, cognitive impairments, and treatment-resistant positive symptoms. Dr. Buchanan has conducted a series of proof of concept and clinical trials examining antipsychhotic reduction strategies in the acute and maintenance treatment of schizophrenia; the use of adjunctive pharmacological agents for the treatment of negative symptoms and cognitive impairments; and the comparative efficacy of clozapine and olanzapine for positive and negative symptoms and cognitive impairments in partially-responsive outpatients with schizophrenia. He has played a major role in several federally funded initiatives such as the Measurement and Treatment Research to Improve Cognition in Schizophrenia (MATRICS) project, an FDA/NIMH workshop to develop guidelines for the conduct of clinical trials of cognitive enhancing drug, as well as the Treatment Units for Research on Neurocognition and Schizophrenia (TURNS) consortium. 

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Shuo Chen, Ph.D.

Director, MPRC Data Science and Statistics Center

Dr. Chen’s research has focused on developing and applying statistical and machine learning methods for multi-modal brain imaging, genetics data analysis with application to neuropsychiatric research. He has been developing new machine learning and high-dimensional tools to tackle the analysis challenges for the longitudinally measured imaging, clinical, and omics data.

 

Under Dr. Chen’s guidance, the advisees work on a wide range of research topics include spatial-temporal model for brain imaging data analysis, brain network analysis, imaging-genetics association analysis (based on consortium data UKBB and ENIGMA), genetics-imaging large scale mediation analysis, meta-analysis of clinical trials with individual level data, and deep learning methods for predictive analysis. In addition, Dr. Chen is a PI for NIDA DP1 project investigating genetics-brain-addiction pathways and risk analysis.  

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Micheal Du, Ph.D.

Neuroimaging Program

Dr. Du's research focuses on understanding the neurocognitive underpinnings of schizophrenia using neuromodulation, neuroimaging, and neurophysiological methods. In the past a few years, his research has been focused on using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) with brain imaging techniques (DTI and rsfMRI). His work has focused on the reduction of short-interval intracortical inhibition (SICI) in patients with schizophrenia  and found that the reduction of SICI in patients with schizophrenia can be largely explained by the deficits of prefronto-motor cortex functional connectivity and the white matter microstructure connecting the prefrontal cortex and motor cortex. He is currently running a clinical trial (mPI) investigating circuitry-guided TMS for smoking cessation in schizophrenia. Dr. Du is a new faculty member and will offer fresh perspective, unique skill sets and recent experience with the transition from T32 into a faculty position.

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Greg Elmer, Ph.D.

Neuroscience Program

Dr. Elmer's research investigates the neurocircuitry underlying the adult psychiatric consequences of adolescent trauma.  In addition, he continues to pursue an interest in the comorbidity triad of opioid abuse, pain and depression.  

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Jim Gold, Ph.D.

Director, Cognitive Affective Neuroscience Schizophrenia

Dr. Gold’s research investigates the nature of cognitive and motivational impairment in schizophrenia. A particular effort is focused on isolating specific deficits in aspects of attention and the nature of working memory capacity limitations in schizophrenia. Other work focuses on the role of predictive coding as a potential mechanism implicated in hallucinations and delusion and examining the potential of behavioral measures to predict conversion to psychosis in young people.  Dr. Gold is also a site PI for the NIMH CNTRACS initiative is designed to bring new methods into the assessment of cognitive performance in the context of clinical trials.

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Britta Hahn, Ph.D.

Cognitive Affective Neuroscience Schizophrenia

Dr.Hahn's background is in psychology, neuroscience and behavioral pharmacology with experience conducting preclinical and human studies of cognition and cognitive neuroscience and studies of cognitive and dependence-related effects of nicotine. Dr. Hahn's work includes studies in healthy participants and in people with schizophrenia. Her preclinical work focuses on attention-modulating effects of nicotinics and schizophrenia-related pathology in rats. 

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Elliot Hong, M.D.

Neuroimaging Program

Dr. Hong's research focuses on using neuroimaging and neurophysiological methods to study etiology of and treatment for severe mental illnesses.  His program provides openings to mentor post-doc and research track residents in imaging-genetics, neuroimaging, neurophysiology, transcranial magnetic stimulation, EEG/ERP, and genetics-biomarker studies. His other areas of research include nicotine addiction, schizophrenia, genetic studies, and clinical trials. 

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Deanna Kelly, Pharm.D., BCCP

Director, Treatment Research Program

Dr. Kelly’s research interests include the mechanistic underpinnings of treatment strategies and the role of inflammation, the immune system and microbiome in disease and treatment. She is involved with numerous studies relating to inflammation and the immune system and is leading efforts worldwide in the understanding of gluten sensitivity and schizophrenia. Recent exciting work involves co-leading an effort to examine social media use and mental illness with the OurDataHelps initiative. 

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Peter Kochunov, Ph.D.

Neuroimaging Program

Dr. Kochunov is a board-certified MRI physicist with over two decades of experiences in novel data analysis protocols with emphasis on the quantitative, multimodal analyses of genetic factors that are responsible for structural and functional variability.  His research includes some of the first manuscripts on heritability of white matter integrity, gray matter thickness, resting-state connectivity and others. 

Francesca Notarangelo, Ph.D.

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Neuroscience Program

Dr. Notorangelo's research is focused on the mechanisms involved in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders. In particular, the work is focused on the role of the gut microbiota in cognitive functions and dysfunction and the link with the kynurenine pathway, the main catabolic route of the essential amino acid tryptophan and the role of the kynurenine pathway in the etiology of psychiatric disorders, by exploring the short- and long-term impact of prenatal stress and immune activation. 

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Paul Shepard, Ph.D.

Neuroscience Program

Dr. Shepard has a longstanding interest in midbrain dopamine neurons and their role in neuropsychiatric disease. Dr. Shepard’s research has focused on the role of the lateral habenula and rostromedial tegmental area in mediating the response of midbrain dopamine neurons to aversive stimuli.  Ongoing studies are exploring the relationship between mechanisms responsible for aversive learning and those involved in the expression of the maladaptive behaviors that model aspects of major depressive disorder. Currently, Dr. Shepard serves as Co-PI on a novel Conte Center Project in which a two-hit model of schizophrenia is being developed in Sinclair miniature pigs.

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Jim Waltz, Ph.D.

Cognitive Affective Neuroscience Schizophrenia

Dr. Waltz's work focuses on  neuroimaging studies of reinforcement processing in schizophrenia. He came to the MPRC as a T32 fellow, in 2004, with the goal of receiving training in clinical research in psychiatry. Since his faculty appointment in 2006, he has continuously received NIH funding to lead studies focused on both behavioral and neuroimaging studies of learning and decision making in schizophrenia spectrum disorders. Dr. Waltz is currently PI on an R01 applying sophisticated computational modeling to the analysis of behavior in schizophrenia patients. 

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Robert Schwarcz, Ph.D.

More opportunities...

Director, Neuroscience Program

Dr.Schwarcz directs a laboratory investigating the the neurobiology of quinolinate (QUIN) and kynurenate (KYNA), two metabolically related brain constituents with neuroexcitatory (and excitotoxic) and neuroinhibitory (and neuroprotective) properties, respectively. Ongoing in vivo and in vitro studies are designed 1) to identify possible abnormalities in kynurenine pathway metabolism in HD, schizophrenia and depression and to develop and use novel kynurenergic drugs in order to normalize functional impairments in the central nervous system.

 

Dr. Schwarcz is the PI of a translational NIMH Conte Center. The ongoing preclinical and clinical studies in the Center focus on the role of the kynurenine pathway in the cognitive deficits seen in schizophrenia and provide important research opportunities and potential pilot funding for T32 fellows.

UMB Department of Psychiatry Mentors

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Seth Ament, Ph.D.

Institute of Genomics Research

Dr. Ament’s laboratory focuses on the genomic and neurobiological mechanisms underlying mental illnesses and related traits. Research in the lab is split evenly between computational and experimental approaches, with many projects combining aspects of both. His group has extensive expertise with cutting-edge and novel computational approaches for the reconstruction of cell type-specific gene regulatory networks in the mammalian brain and for testing associations of these networks with disease states. Cell types in the basal ganglia are a particular focus, including studies of epigenomic and transcriptomic networks and their associations with mood, addiction, and Huntington’s disease neurodegeneration. Another area of research is the genetics of neuropsychiatric traits, including schizophrenia, mood disorders, and microbiome involvement in psychiatric illness. 

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Todd Gould, M.D.

Director, Translational Research Laboratory

Dr. Gould's laboratory investigates the pathophysiology of psychiatric disorders and the mechanisms of action of mood stabilizers and antidepressants using genetic, pharmacological, and behavioral methods.  The long-term goal of the research program is to identify molecular therapeutic targets for the development of new interventions to prevent or treat mood disorders and comorbid conditions.  The research in his laboratory has a particular focus on the development of improved animal models for applications to psychiatry, the functional consequences of mood disorder susceptibility genes, and collaborative translational studies with clinically focused research groups. He has extensive experience with studying and teaching rodent behaviors, using techniques of behavioral neuroscience and behavioral pharmacology.

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Gloria Reeves, M.D.

Vice Chair of Research, Dept Psychiatry

Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Dr. Reeve's work focuses on "family-centered" research, which is organized by both process, i.e. partnership with consumers and community stakeholders; and content - focus on parent/family priorities for clinical research, including safety concerns as well as psychosocial determinants of health.  Dr. Reeves will provide support to the T32 training program by supporting efforts to connect trainees with both clinical faculty for training and exposure to clinical services as well as connection with clinical researchers for possible mentorship and clinical research collaboration.  Importantly, Dr. Reeves is also Co-Director of the Department of Psychiatry Mentorship program so she can provide guidance for trainees on Research Career Development resources and opportunities.