One of the three founding Programs of the MPRC, the Neuroscience Program is an integral part of the institute, providing cutting-edge scientific concepts and state-of-the-art laboratory expertise to complement the clinical Programs. In turn, the design of many preclinical studies is influenced by and benefits from discoveries and developments in the MPRC's clinical units. This cross-talk is particularly useful because of the complex character of schizophrenia, including multifactorial etiology and a heterogeneous phenotype. Thus, ongoing "translational" interactions between Programs are a critical component of MPRC philosophy and contribute substantially to the successful pursuit of all individual programmatic missions.
The scientific principles underlying the projects in the Neuroscience Program are guided by the need to explore, and ultimately comprehend, the nature of brain dysfunction in schizophrenia. This requires a broad approach, ranging from molecular and cellular studies to the examination of normal and abnormal brain function in whole animals. Administratively, the Program, which occupies approximately 18,000 square feet in the MPRC main building and is directed by Dr. Robert Schwarcz, consists of three laboratories. Each of the laboratories is headed by an independent MPRC investigator and is organized thematically, covering a topic of interest to schizophrenia research.
- Biochemistry and Psychopharmacology (Dr. Robert Schwarcz)
- Behavioral Genetics (Dr. Greg Elmer)
- Neurophysiology (Dr. Paul Shepard)
Taken together, these investigators supervise 30-40 research scientists (junior faculty, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students) and support personnel.