Todd Denton Gould, M.D., of the University of Maryland, will study changes in a gene called CACNA1C that appear to confer susceptibility to mental illness, primarily bipolar disorder and depression. The goal is first to identify CACNA1C variants expressed in adult and fetal brains to assess whether the mechanism regulating gene expression is specific to developmental stages, and then to determine the mechanisms of gene expression that lead to illness susceptibility.
Andrew L. Gundlach, Ph.D., of the University of Melbourne, will investigate the involvement in anxiety and depressive disorders of a molecule called RXFP3. Acute RXFP3 activation reduces levels of anxiety-like behavior in genetically-engineered "anxious" mice and increases their social interactions. The proposed study will elucidate the targets of RXFP3, which may uncover new targets for treatment.
Yasushi Nakagawa, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Minnesota, will examine interactions in the brain between the thalamus and the prefrontal cortex. Defects in these interactions are implicated in many psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and autism. Projections from the thalamus to the cortex play a central role in conveying visual and auditory information. Projections from the mediodorsal area are important for learning and memory.
|Contact: Sally Corbett|
Brain & Behavior Research Foundation