The focus of our laboratory is understanding the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. Despite decades of research the molecular mechanisms of schizophrenia are still obscure. One strategy that we employ in our laboratory is to use data from imaging studies to inform our human post-mortem studies, specifically in terms of identification of important brain regions involved in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. For example, functional imaging studies in our group have identified the anterior medial temporal lobe as a brain region associated with cognitive deficits and psychosis in schizophrenia.
In the laboratory, we have carefully dissected and processed tissue from the human post-mortem hippocampus to enable us to conduct a series of molecular studies using modern neuroscience techniques to determine molecular signatures associated with schizophrenia. In situ hybridization, DNA microarray, and immunohistochemistry are among the commonly used techniques. We have a specific interest in the glutamate synapse and are pursuing the examination of a comprehensive list of neurochemical markers of the glutamate presynapse, post synapse and astrocytic compartments. Given our database of clinical information, we are also able to examine molecular correlates of risk genes and risk–gene environment interactions.