The overall objective of the Translational Neuroscience Program, directed by David A. Lewis, MD, is to understand the neurobiological basis for complex human cognitive and emotional functions, and the manner in which alterations in the brain give rise to the types of disturbances in these functions that characterize psychiatric disorders. Disorders of particular interest include schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, addiction, and Alzheimer disease with psychosis. In pursuit of this goal, Program scientists seek to "translate" clinical observations into hypotheses about the biological mechanisms involved in a disease process that can be tested in the more tractable conditions of the laboratory in order to guide the identification of molecular targets for drug development. Indeed, the principal motivation for these studies is the acquisition of the knowledge needed to develop novel approaches for improving the treatment and prevention of these disorders.
|Schematic summary of the components of the disease process of schizophrenia. According to this view, the etiology (or cause) of the illness unleashes pathogenic processes that lead to discrete pathological entities, each of which alter normal brain circuitry and function. The resulting pathophysiology gives rise to the distinct components of the clinical syndrome of schizophrenia. The development of effective treatments or preventative measures requires the ability to interrupt or reverse the pathophysiological processes and pathogenic mechanisms, respectively. From Lewis DA, Sweet RA: Schizophrenia from a neural circuitry perspective: advancing toward rational pharmacological therapies. Journal of Clinical Investigation 119:706-716, 2009.|
|David A. Lewis, MD | Department of Psychiatry | University of Pittsburgh
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