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McLean researcher

Darrick T. Balu: Translational Psychiatry Laboratory

The Translational Psychiatry Laboratory, founded in the fall of 2015, utilizes mouse models carrying mutations in genes that have been associated with schizophrenia, to determine how these genetic changes lead to abnormalities in brain structure and function, and ultimately behavior. We then test the ability of novel drugs to normalize the pathologies in our models with the hope of finding better treatments for schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe mental disorder that affects millions of Americans. Like other psychiatric and developmental disorders, schizophrenia is a disorder of complex genetics. Multiple risk genes of modest effects interact with the environment to cause the illness. We are interested in better understanding a particular excitatory neurotransmitter system in the brain, and using this information to gain new insights into the underlying causes of schizophrenia.