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Available Research Studies

New Treatment Studies

Study 1: Confirmatory Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Efficacy Trial of a Gluten-Free Diet in a subgroup of Persons with Schizophrenia who have high levels of IgG Anti-Gliadin Antibodies (AGA IG)

We are conducting a 2-phase study. The first phase is getting tested for antibodies to gluten and the second is an opportunity to participate in a clinical trial if you test positive for the blood test antibody.

  • 18-64 years old
  • Diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder
  • Blood test determines a positive antibody test for AGA IgG

Brief Description of the Antibody Testing and the Clinical Trial Opportunity

Shawna Dougherty

Study 2: Neuromodulation of Social Cognitive Circuitry in People with Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders 

People with schizophrenia and its related disorders have trouble functioning in social situations, and this could affect their daily life.

This research study will examine two different types of brain stimulation techniques to determine which technique results in more change to the social functioning areas of the brain. Each person will either be randomly chosen to one of the two “active” techniques, or to a third group that mimics one of the active techniques but will not produce any brain stimulation.

The study will be approximately 15 visits. Visits will be conducted at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center (MPRC) in Catonsville, MD. In addition to brain stimulation, this study involves questionnaires, and a Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan (MRI).

  • You will not be taken off your usual medications to participate in the study.
  • You will be compensated for your participation in the study. If you do not complete the entire study, you will be paid for the study visits that you did complete.

For more information and to see if you qualify, please contact:

Christine Brown

Brain Imaging Studies

Study 1: The Effects of Kynurenine Aminotransferase Inhibition in People with Schizophrenia  

Study involves ingestion of the supplements N-acetylcysteine and tryptophan; blood draws; cognitive testing; and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of the brain. Compensation is provided.

  • 18-55 Years Old
  • People with a diagnosis of Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, or Schizophreniform Disorder

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Shawna Dougherty

Study 2: Behavioral Health & Wellness Research, Brain Circuits and Comorbidity

Environmental factors, stress and genetics will all be studied.

  • Age 18-65
  • Population: People with a diagnosis of Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder or Schizophreniform Disorder
  • **Healthy participants who have no mental illness are also needed for these studies
  • Compensation provided

Samantha Lightner

Study 3: Neuroimmune Dysfunction in Alcohol Use Disorder

Emma DuMez

Study 4: Stress and Reward Sensitivity in Psychiatric Illness

  • Age 18-65
  • **Healthy participants who have no mental illness are needed for these studies, as well as people with a first-degree relative (parent, sibling, or child) with a diagnosis of Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder or Schizophreniform Disorder
  • Compensation provided
  • Find out more information on this research opportunity here, and learn more about the participants needed here

Jacob Nudelman

Cognitive Studies

Study 1: Attention and Working Memory

  • Age 18-55
  • Good physical health
  • Diagnosis: Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective
  • **Healthy participants who have no mental illness are also needed for these studies
  • Compensation provided
  • Find out more information

Sharon August, MA

Study 2: Development of Computational Modeling to Identify Symptom Changes in Schizophrenia and Depression

We are recruiting healthy controls, people with schizophrenia or depression for this study

  • People with Schizophrenia and Schizophrenia Related Disorders and Healthy Controls.
  • Age 18-64
  • Have a valid Facebook and/or Twitter account.
  • Find out more information

Hanna Michel

Study 3: Corollary Discharge Function in Schizophrenia

Various aspects of our daily lives include functioning in a changing and often unpredictable environment, in which we must correctly distinguish self-generated movements, sounds and actions from environmental changes. This research study aims to find out more about how our brains process sensory information. In particular, this study examines how different parts of our brains interact when we expect to see or hear certain sights and sounds, as opposed to when those sights and sounds are unexpected.

  • We are aiming to enroll three different groups of participants: I. people who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia or related disorder; II. people who receive vocal messages, or hear voices or have visions, who do not have a diagnosis of schizophrenia; III. individuals from the community who do not experience vocal messages or visions.
  • People between the age of 18-70 are eligible to participate.
  • The study includes interviews, cognitive testing and EEG recording.
  • The study involves making 3-4 visits to the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center at 55 Wade Avenue in Catonsville.
  • Each visit is likely to take 2-3 hours, with payment of $20 per hour.

Sharon August

Smoking Studies

Study 1

  • age 18-62
  • population: Current smokers
  • **healthy participants who have no mental illness are needed for these studies
  • compensation provided
  • Find out more information

Samantha Lightner

Study 2

We are looking for research participants to study how different cigarettes are perceived, and how this may differ between smokers with and without a diagnosis of schizophrenia.

You may qualify for our study if you are:

  • a smoker
  • 18-60 years of age
  • either have no psychiatric diagnosis, or have a diagnosis of schizophrenia
  • fully vaccinated against COVID-19

Requirements: Study participants make 4 visits to Maryland Psychiatric Research Center (MPRC) in Catonsville, MD, on weekdays (Mon-Fri). Two visits last about 2 hours each, one 6 hours, and one 8 hours.

*Compensation: $18/hour

For a confidential screening or more information: 

Blood Draw Studies

Study 1: The effects of Clozapine on DNA methylation in Peripheral Blood in People with Schizophrenia

We are recruiting both healthy controls and people with schizophrenia for this study and have groups we are recruiting.

  • 18-69 Years Old
  • Diagnosis of Schizophrenia or Healthy Control
  • History of treatment with clozapine or other antipsychotic if you have a diagnosis of Schizophrenia

Brief Description of the DNA Methylation Testing

Shawna Dougherty

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Former MPRC Director, Dr. Robert W. Buchanan, provides an overview of the center.

Robert Schwarcz, Ph.D. wins the 2022 Lieber Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Schizophrenia Research from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

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