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Research Teams

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The research activities of the Schizophrenia Center include one NIH-designated research center and three research programs which are guided by a unifying vision aimed at discovering the pathological mechanisms of schizophrenia and develop novel ways to treat this devastating illness.

Conte Center for Schizophrenia Research

This research center, which is funded by the P50 NIMH Silvo O. Conte Center Grant, is a research team dedicated to both the translational and clinical study of schizophrenia. Scientists and clinicians represent multiple departments (psychiatry, neuroscience, human genetics, pediatrics, biostatistics, and psychology) in multiple schools at Johns Hopkins including the schools of Medicine, Public Heath, and Arts and Sciences. Believing that early intervention may be a key to successful therapeutic strategies in schizophrenia , the Center team studies pathological mechanisms of genetic and environmental risk factors in the context of the developmental trajectory of the disease by using multiple research approaches, including genetics, mouse genetic engineering, molecular profiling, immunology, as well as molecular and behavioral neuroscience.
Center Director – Akira Sawa MD, PhD
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Neurobiology Research Labs

Genetic factors seen in neurological conditions such as Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disease may offer clues to the mechanisms of schizophrenia.  Building on a long history of discovery in the study of these neurodegenerative diseases, several of the neurobiology labs apply what they have learned to tackle schizophrenia with biochemistry, biophysics, cell biology, mouse model and brain imaging studies.
Directors – Christopher Ross, M.D., Ph.D. and Russell Margolis, M.D.
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Behavioral Neurobiology Lab - Mikhail V. Pletnikov, M.D., Ph.D.
Genetic Neurobiology Lab - Russell L. Margolis, M.D.
Molecular Neurobiology Lab - Christopher Ross, M.D., Ph.D.

Molecular Psychiatry Program

This program takes a multifaceted biological approach to the study of schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders at the intersection of basic science and clinical psychiatry.  This group uses cutting-edge cell conversion and stem cell approaches with human tissues, model studies, brain imaging, and clinical trials, with an emphasis of oxidative stress and immune/inflammatory mechanisms with environmental stressors.
Director  – Akira Sawa, M.D., Ph.D.
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The Sawa Lab – Akira Sawa, M.D., Ph.D.
The Kamiya Lab – Atsushi Kamiya, M.D., Ph.D.
The Sedlak Lab – Thomas Sedlak, M.D., Ph.D.

Epidemiology-Genetics Program in Schizophrenia, Bipolar, and Related Disrders

This group leads the Center in the study of epidemiology and genetics as they relate to schizophrenia. The large cohort sample of clinical data they have amassed since the 1980’s represents a crucial contribution to the study of the genetic, developmental, and environmental components of schizophrenia. The high quality of these study sets allows for the analysis of heterogeneity in schizophrenia. 
Director - Ann Pulver, Ph.D.
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CBS Evening News - Jan 31, 2013
"Stigma" of mental illness a
setback for patients, society

Early Psychosis Intervention Clinic
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Mind the Gap

MIND THE GAP: Aspiring to bring
clinicians and scientists together
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