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The faculty of the Division of Neurobiology and Behavior Research (DNBR) are engaged in research activities designed to build bridges between cellular/molecular events and behavior. These efforts can be described best as "forward" and "reverse" translational psychiatry research. The discovery of human brain abnormalities associated with psychiatric disease, whether morphological or at the cellular level, does not imply causality of illness. Therefore, researchers must take human pathological findings "back to the bench" in order to understand them. That is, these findings must be interpreted in the laboratory using non-human systems (cell culture, animal models) in order to investigate their molecular pathogenesis and their relationship to abnormal behavior.
In the DNBR, numerous psychiatric illnesses are under study, including major depression, schizophrenia, substance abuse disorders, sleep disorders, and Alzheimer's disease. The outcome of the Division's research activities carries the promise of novel and/or improved approaches to the treatment of psychiatric illnesses. Most of the faculty members of the DNBR are located in the first floor of the Arthur C. Guyton Laboratory Research Building at the University of Mississippi Medical School. Psychiatry residents have the unique opportunity to participate in basic/clinical research activities of the DNBR as a part of a research elective in the Residency Training Program.
The Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior initiated the organization of the Graduate Program in Neuroscience in 2007. The Program in Neuroscience (PIN) is an interdepartmental collaborative PhD training program that includes 42 faculty members from 15 departments across the UMMC campus and is directed by Dr. Ian A. Paul. The PIN receives administrative support from the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior and the Center for Psychiatric Neuroscience as well as generous stipend support from the School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences and currently trains 10 PhD and 1 MD-PhD students. All of the faculty in the DNBR along with faculty in the Division of Psychology participate in the PIN teaching and research training. In addition, Psychiatry residents have the unique opportunity to participate in basic/clinical research activities of the PIN and DNBR as a part of a research elective in the Residency Training Program.
Faculty currently receive generous support from UMMC as well as external support from the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute of Drug Abuse, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, the Alzheimer's Association, and numerous pharmaceutical manufacturers. The Division currently has nearly $20 million in external research support, most of which comes from the National Institutes of Health. The Division is also home to the Center for Psychiatric Neuroscience.
The Center for Psychiatric Neuroscience (CPN) is a multidisciplinary research coalition at UMMC. The primary mission of the CPN is to facilitate the transition of junior faculty researchers to independent neuroscientists with major research grant support. The CPN emphasizes research dedicated to the generation of knowledge about the relationship between basic neurobiology and clinical psychiatry.
This area of research, i.e. psychiatric neuroscience, is an exciting field that has contributed many recent major discoveries regarding the biological bases of behavior. The timeliness and health significance of such research is emphasized by a recent report from the World Health Organization, indicating that five out of the 10 leading causes of disability worldwide in 1990 were psychiatric conditions, including unipolar depression, alcohol use, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (Murray, et al., WHO, Global Burden of Disease, 1996). Hence, the ultimate goal of research supported by the CPN is to enhance our understanding of the biological underpinnings of psychiatric illnesses and their treatment, and to open the door to novel, more effective treatments for these illnesses.
The MIND Center (Memory Impairment and Neurodegenerative Dementia Research) is a major UMMC research initiative aimed at elucidating the causes and treatments for Alzheimer's disease and related forms of dementia through innovative research.
Led by Dr. Tom Mosley, a nationally recognized expert in brain aging, the MIND Center brings together some of the largest neuro-epidemiological studies ever conducted, state-of-the-art brain imaging and powerful new genetic technologies. The goal is accelerating the pace of discovery in the search for treatments that may slow or prevent Alzheimer's and other forms of cognitive decline.
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