Research

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About Our Research Programs

Over the past decade, the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences has expanded our research mission, collaborating with local, national and international partners to become a world leader in genomic psychiatry, translational research, health services research, the neurosciences and other specialties.

We closely involve trainees — medical students, residents and postdoctoral fellows — in our research mission in order to prepare the next generation of psychiatric research leaders.

Many of our faculty members are associated with the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute where scientists conduct innovative research to discover the underlying causes of neurological and psychiatric disorders.

Current Research

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Researchers in the Center for Genomic Psychiatry — part of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences — are leading a multi-institutional National Institute of Mental Health-funded clinical study to identify genes related to obsessive-compulsive disorder, which affects 2.2 million American adults. The disorder, which often first manifests in childhood, leads to obsessive thoughts and actions that are distressing and often overwhelming. Researchers aim to determine the genetic factors involved in the disorder by studying the largest patient cohort to date.

Learn more about clinical research

Featured Publication

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Michele Pato, MD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, and Carlos Pato, MD, along with a team of multinational researchers, have identified more than 100 locations in the human genome associated with the risk of developing schizophrenia in the largest genomic study of any psychiatric disorder to date. The findings, published in Nature, point to biological mechanisms and pathways that may underlie schizophrenia and that could lead to new approaches to treating the disorder, which has seen little innovation in drug development in more than 60 years.