The focus of our research is to determine how genetic variants interact with environmental factors (including stress and drugs of abuse) to lead to mental illness. We accomplish this by implanting multiple small electrodes directly into the brains of mice that express genes which lead to mental illness in humans. We then monitor the activity of many brain cells simultaneously as these mice perform various behavioral tasks. We also record brain activity in mice exposed to various environmental stresses, and drugs of abuse. It is our hope that these experiments will one day lead to the discovery of new treatments for our patients with mental illness.
- Genetic changes in circadian genes increase risk for Bipolar disorder
- Mice with mutations in the circadian gene CLOCK (Clock mutants) exhibit behaviors similar to mania in humans
- Brain networks that control fear and reward processing having dysfunction timing the clock mutant mice.
- Treatment with lithium (a medication used to treat bipolar disorder in humans) repairs normal timing in the reward network of Clock mice, and makes them behave normally
- Learn more about bipolar disorder