School of Medicine

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  • Victor G. Carrión

    Victor G. Carrión

    John A. Turner Endowed Professor for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
    On Leave from 10/10/2021 To 12/10/2021

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsExamines the interplay between brain development and stress vulnerability via a multi-method approach that includes psychophysiology, neuroimaging, neuroendocrinology and phenomenology. Treatment development that focuses on individual and community-based interventions for stress related conditions in children and adolescents that experience traumatic stress.

  • Sundari Chetty

    Sundari Chetty

    Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsThe Chetty lab is interested in understanding the mechanisms underlying neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia. In particular, our group has been investigating the mechanisms underlying brain overgrowth or undergrowth in these disorders using human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) technology. Changes in brain size often precede clinical symptoms, suggesting that understanding the underlying mechanisms regulating brain overgrowth or undergrowth could provide a window of opportunity for intervention or mitigation of symptoms.

    Using hiPSCs from idiopathic patients as well as those with known genetic variations, we generate iPSC-derived cortical neural and oligodendroglial cells to investigate changes at the cellular, functional, and mechanistic levels using a broad range of techniques from RNA sequencing, genome editing, to functional assays in in vitro and in vivo models. The overarching goal of our research program is to identify novel therapeutic targets based on these mechanistic insights.

  • Dan Christoffel

    Dan Christoffel

    Affiliate, Psych/Major Laboratories and Clinical & Translational Neurosciences Incubator

    BioOur experiences come to shape our future behaviors and can having lasting effects on our quality of life. My research aims to understand how chronic exposure to particular stimuli (i.e. stress, food, drugs) alters the functioning of specific neural circuits. Following identification of the relevant circuits, I investigate the mechanisms that regulate these experience-dependent changes. This ultimately aids in our understanding of how maladaptive changes in brain function occur and how these changes result in psychiatric disorders.
    My current focus is on specific neural circuits involved in reward processing and feeding behavior. I am discovering how various excitatory inputs to the nucleus accumbens, a critical brain node involved in processing the salience of events, modulate reward - related behaviors utilizing converging lines of inquiry. Specifically, I observe neuronal activity in awake behaving mice, and assess the mechanisms underlying changes in activity with electrophysiology. Finally, I then modulate specific circuits using optogenetics, a technique that provides spatio-temporal control over genetically identified cells, to determine the causal role of these circuits in reward-related behavior.