Schizophrenia Research | NYU Langone Health

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Department of Psychiatry Research Schizophrenia Research

Schizophrenia Research

The mission of the Department of Psychiatry’s schizophrenia research group is to develop more effective and better-tolerated treatments for individuals with this chronic mental illness. Under the leadership of Donald C. Goff, MD, our investigators use emerging technologies, including brain imaging, genetics, bioinformatics, and computational neuroscience, to advance our understanding of schizophrenia and identify new treatment targets.

Treatment approaches we evaluate include pharmacologic agents, cognitive remediation, cognitive behavioral therapy, mobile digital technology, and neuromodulation. Using a precision medicine model, researchers match these treatments to individual patients using novel biomarkers.

Our faculty study schizophrenia at NYU Langone’s Tisch Hospital, NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn, NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue, and the New York State Office of Mental Health’s Manhattan Psychiatric Center and 125th Street Clinic, and The Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research. This wide range of clinical settings allows our investigators to study both early (particularly first episode) and later-stage psychosis. We are also able to focus on groups with the greatest unmet needs, including individuals with treatment-resistant illness, negative symptoms, cognitive deficits, comorbid illness, and those with a history of self-harm or violence.

Clinical Trials

Our current trials investigate treatments that may benefit patients early in the disease process and the role of hippocampal memory circuits in delusions.

Clozapine for the Prevention of Violence in Schizophrenia

This is a 24-week study investigating the effects of treatment with clozapine compared to antipsychotic treatment as usual (TAU) for reducing the risk of violent acts in real-world settings. Adults ages 18 to 65 with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder who have committed a violent act within the past six months and are appropriate for treatment with clozapine or TAU are eligible. Participants will receive psychiatric assessments and medical monitoring, including blood draws and physical exams.

For more information about this study, please contact Gillian Capichioni, research data associate, at 917-628-0552 or View full clinical information.

Levetiracetam in Early Psychosis

This is a 12-week study of levetiracetam added to a second-generation antipsychotic in early psychosis patients who have been ill for less than 5 years and continue to experience psychotic symptoms (delusions and/or hallucinations) despite at least 8 weeks of antipsychotic treatment. Levetiracetam (Keppra) is an FDA-approved medication for the treatment of epilepsy; it reduces excessive activity in the brain. This study will test the hypothesis that adding levetiracetam will improve psychotic symptoms that are unresponsive to antipsychotic treatment and will protect the brain from atrophy (volume loss). All subjects will receive a comprehensive psychiatric and medical evaluation by Dr. Goff as part of participation.

For more information about this study, please contact Gillian Capichioni, research data associate, at 917-628-0552 or View full clinical trial information.

Hippocampal Memory Circuits in Delusions

Dr. Goff and his colleagues are using three novel high-resolution task-based and post-encoding resting functional MRI paradigms (pattern separation, sequential associative mismatch, and encoding plasticity) to assess hippocampal activity in patients with first episode psychosis before and after antipsychotic treatment. Fifty first psychosis subjects and 50 healthy matched controls are being assigned to each of the 3 imaging methods. Investigators are evaluating psychosis subjects at baseline and at eight weeks after starting antipsychotic medication to determine whether changes in delusions correlate with hippocampal changes detected on imaging.

For more information about this study, please contact Gillian Capichioni, research data associate, at 917-628-0552 or View full clinical trial information.

Can Cognitive Training Decrease Reactive Aggression?

Through The Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, Matthew J. Hoptman, PhD, and Jean-Pierre Lindenmayer, MD, are investigating whether cognitive training helps people with schizophrenia to improve emotion regulation, impulse control, and aggression. The researchers, in collaboration with Weill Medical College of Cornell University investigators, are comparing computerized cognitive remediation and social cognition training to cognitive remediation alone. Estimated enrollment is 90 people.

For more information about this study, please contact Isidora Ljuri at 646-672-6173 or View full clinical trial information. The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences is providing funding to the Clinical and Translational Science Center at Weill Medical College of Cornell University to conduct this study.

Neural Correlates of Emotion Regulation in Psychosis with Suicidal Ideation and Behavior

Matthew J. Hoptman, PhD, is investigating how brain function relates to emotion regulation in 52 people with psychoses and suicidal ideation and behavior compared to 52 subjects with no psychiatric condition. He is using fMRI and novel brain imaging techniques to assess brain structure, circuitry, and function. View additional study information.

Imaging Dopamine D2 Agonist Binding Sites in Schizophrenia

W. Gordon Frankle, MD, is studying dopamine abnormalities hypothesized to be responsible for the symptoms observed in schizophrenia. He and his colleagues are applying novel brain imaging techniques to measure dopamine release, the binding of dopamine to receptors, and the impact of dopamine on working memory in subjects with schizophrenia and healthy controls. This project is designed to help researchers understand whether increased dopamine release, increased dopamine binding to receptors, or some combination of these, is responsible for the symptoms observed in schizophrenia. View additional study information.

Basic and Translational Research

To translate new findings in basic and cognitive neuroscience to the clinic, our investigators take advantage of the rich neuroscience environment at NYU Langone, employing a team approach with colleagues at the Neuroscience Institute. We also work with the Center for Neural Science at NYU, and The Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatry Research.

Current Grants

Our researchers are funded by National Institutes of Health and not-for-profit health foundation grants.

National Institute of Mental Health

Levetiracetam in First Episode Psychosis; NIH R61MH112833

Hippocampal Memory Circuits in Delusions; NIH R01MH112733

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Neural Correlates of Emotional Regulation in Psychosis with Suicidal Ideation and Behavior; 2018 Standard Research Grant

Research Training

We offer medical students, residents, and fellows basic, translational, and clinical research opportunities in schizophrenia.


Our research faculty are experts in schizophrenia research.

Donald C. Goff, MD
Esther Blessing, MD, PhD
W. Gordon Frankle, MD
Matthew J. Hoptman, PhD
Jean-Pierre Lindenmayer, MD
Leonardo V. Lopez, MD

Contact Us

For further information about the schizophrenia research group, please contact Dr. Goff at

Recent Publications

Our schizophrenia research faculty publish frequently in peer-reviewed journals. Here is a selection of their recent publications.

Hippocampal Subfield Volumes Predict Disengagement from Maintenance Treatment in First Episode Schizophrenia

Qi, Wei; Marx, Julia; Zingman, Michael; Li, Yi; Petkova, Eva; Blessing, Esther; Ardekani, Babak; Sakalli Kani, Ayse; Cather, Corinne; Freudenreich, Oliver; Holt, Daphne; Zhao, Jingping; Wang, Jijun; Goff, Donald C

Schizophrenia bulletin. 2022 Nov 12;

Decreased basal ganglia and thalamic iron in early psychotic spectrum disorders are associated with increased psychotic and schizotypal symptoms

Sui, Yu Veronica; McKenna, Faye; Bertisch, Hilary; Storey, Pippa; Anthopolos, Rebecca; Goff, Donald C; Samsonov, Alexey; Lazar, Mariana

Molecular psychiatry. 2022 Sep 07;

Association Between the Use of Psychotropic Medications and the Risk of COVID-19 Infection Among Long-term Inpatients With Serious Mental Illness in a New York State-wide Psychiatric Hospital System

Nemani, Katlyn; Williams, Sharifa Z; Olfson, Mark; Leckman-Westin, Emily; Finnerty, Molly; Kammer, Jammie; Smith, Thomas E; Silverman, Daniel J; Lindenmayer, Jean-Pierre; Capichioni, Gillian; Clelland, James; Goff, Donald C

JAMA network open. 2022 May 02; 5:e2210743

Impairment in acquisition of conditioned fear in schizophrenia

Tuominen, Lauri; Romaniuk, Liana; Milad, Mohammed R; Goff, Donald C; Hall, Jeremy; Holt, Daphne J

Neuropsychopharmacology. 2022 Feb ; 47:681-686

Association Between Antipsychotic Use and COVID-19 Mortality Among People With Serious Mental Illness

Nemani, Katlyn; Conderino, Sarah; Marx, Julia; Thorpe, Lorna E; Goff, Donald C

JAMA psychiatry. 2021 Dec 01; 78:1391-1393

Association Between Mental Health Disorders and Mortality Among Patients With COVID-19 in 7 Countries: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Fond, Guillaume; Nemani, Katlyn; Etchecopar-Etchart, Damien; Loundou, Anderson; Goff, Donald C; Lee, Seung Won; Lancon, Christophe; Auquier, Pascal; Baumstarck, Karine; Llorca, Pierre-Michel; Yon, Dong Keon; Boyer, Laurent

JAMA psychiatry. 2021 Nov 01; 78:1208-1217

Effect of DAOA genetic variation on white matter alteration in corpus callosum in patients with first-episode schizophrenia

Su, Wenjun; Zhu, Tianyuan; Xu, Lihua; Wei, Yanyan; Zeng, Botao; Zhang, Tianhong; Cui, Huiru; Wang, Junjie; Jia, Yuping; Wang, Jinhong; Goff, Donald C; Tang, Yingying; Wang, Jijun

Brain imaging & behavior. 2021 Aug ; 15:1748-1759

Association of Aripiprazole With Reduced Hippocampal Atrophy During Maintenance Treatment of First-Episode Schizophrenia

Wang, John; Hart, Kamber L; Qi, Wei; Ardekani, Babak A; Li, Chenxiang; Marx, Julia; Freudenreich, Oliver; Cather, Corinne; Holt, Daphne; Bello, Iruma; Diminich, Erica D; Tang, Yingying; Worthington, Michelle; Zeng, Botao; Wu, Renrong; Fan, Xiaoduo; Zhao, Jingping; Wang, Jijun; Goff, Donald C

Journal of clinical psychopharmacology. 2021 May-Jun 01; 41:244-249