Todd Lencz, Ph.D., of The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, aims to identify rare genetic variants associated with schizophrenia by utilizing DNA from an Ashkenazi Jewish population, in which there is much less genetic variation than in the general public. Preliminary testing of a small number of Ashkenazi subjects with schizophrenia identified a set of possible candidate genes that Dr. Lencz now intends to pursue in a larger number of participants.
Daniel J. Mueller, M.D., Ph.D., of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, is exploring the genetics of the weight gain caused by antipsychotic medications. Commonly prescribed drugs for schizophrenia like clozapine and reserpine induce substantial weight gain in up to half of patients, posing risks for serious illness and for treatment noncompliance. Dr. Mueller and colleagues are working to identify the responsible gene variants and their role in antipsychotic-induced weight gain and possibly in obesity generally.
Brien P. Riley, Ph.D., of Virginia Commonwealth University, proposes to sequence all protein-coding DNA in the genomes of a group of Irish patients with schizophrenia in multiple affected families in order to identify rare, damaging genetic variations. Such families have a substantially higher risk of illness than the general population, and likely harbor gene variations with greater impact in the causation of a disease in which hundreds of variants have been implicated.
Alon Chen, Ph.D., of the Weizmann Institute of Science, is studying the role of microRNAs, molecules that repress gene expression, in regulating the brain chemical serotonin in depression and anxiety. Levels of brain microRNAs are affected by behavioral and pharma
|Contact: Sally Corbett|
Brain & Behavior Research Foundation