Investigation translationnelle dans les maladies neuropsychiatriques

 

Mallar Chakravarty

Centre de recherche de l'IUSM Douglas

 

Domaine : neurosciences, santé mentale et toxicomanies

Programme Chercheurs-boursiers - Junior 2

Concours 2019-2020

Schizophrenia is a disabling psychiatric disorders that affects 1-3% of the population.  Age of onset is typically in late adolescent or early adulthood, a critical period in the maturation process that coincides with the development of lasting relationships, employment, and seeking education. In Canada, more than 300,000 people suffer from this condition and there is no cure. There is no single factor that is known to cause schizophrenia.  However, there are a range of risk factors that are known. There have been recent initiatives to examine how those at risk from for schizophrenia may go through different maturation processes than typically developing children.  This is the main goal of my research program. 

I propose to perform these investigations in a unique manner that employs both clinical populations (those being seen at high-risk clinics and the unaffected siblings of schizophrenia patients; having a sibling with schizophrenia in considered a risk factor) and animal models of exposure to schizophrenia related risk factors (we will study what happens to mice who experience whose mothers experience an infection during pregnancy, a known risk factor for schizophrenia).  Further, I propose to monitor brain changes using sophisticated magnetic resonance imaging methods, one of the few methodologies that can be performed in both living animals and humans using repeated measurements over time to gain a better understanding of how the brain may change under the influence of exposure to these risk factors. 

The proposed research program provides a fertile and exciting environment for trainees who are interested in understanding the relationship between what is is observed in clinical settings and the basic neurobiology of schizophrenia.  Successful completion of this work will also provide opportunities to examine timepoints that may be suitable for intervention during this high risk phase.