Trio of Psychiatry researchers awarded NARSAD Young Investigator
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Three researchers from the Department of Psychiatry have
been awarded 2013
NARSAD Young Investigator Grants by the Brain & Behavior Research
Foundation. Created to provide support for the most promising young scientists
conducting neurobiological research, NARSAD Young Investigator Grants are
two-year awards that enable emerging scientists to either extend their
research fellowship training or begin careers as independent research faculty.
Kathleen Cho, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow
in Vikaas Sohal’s lab, will study parvalbumin interneurons in the prefrontal
cortex. She seeks to determine how the properties of excitatory and inhibitory
neurons or their interactions might be altered in ways that produce neural
imbalance and give rise to abnormal brain-wave oscillations such as those
observed in people with schizophrenia.
Jia Sheng Hu, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in John
Rubenstein’s lab, will explore disruption in the balance between excitation and
inhibition in brain activity caused by dysfunctional inhibitory neurons,
a mechanism tied to epilepsy, schizophrenia and ASD. Hu will focus
on the role of the gene Coup-TF2 in pre-natal development. The
protein product of this gene has been identified as playing an important role
in maintaining the distribution of inhibitory neurons in the brain.
professor Joshua Woolley, MD, PhD, will investigate the
neurophysiological mechanisms of oxytocin and its prosocial effects in people
with schizophrenia versus controls using magnetoencephalography (MEG). This is
the first study to investigate the neurophysiological effects induced by
oxytocin in schizophrenia using any imaging modality, and the first to use MEG
to examine the effects of oxytocin on neural processing.