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.
Our current trials investigate treatments that may benefit patients early in the disease process and the role of hippocampal memory circuits in delusions.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com. 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 and Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine. We also work with the Center for Neural Science at NYU, and The Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatry Research.
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
We offer medical students, residents, and fellows basic, translational, and clinical research opportunities in schizophrenia.
Our research faculty are experts in schizophrenia research.
For further information about the schizophrenia research group, please contact Dr. Goff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our schizophrenia research faculty publish frequently in peer-reviewed journals. Here is a selection of their recent publications.
Association Between Mental Health Disorders and Mortality Among Patients With COVID-19 in 7 Countries: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
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
Brain imaging & behavior. 2021 Aug ; 15:1748-1759
Association of Aripiprazole With Reduced Hippocampal Atrophy During Maintenance Treatment of First-Episode Schizophrenia
Journal of clinical psychopharmacology. 2021 May-Jun 01; 41:244-249
Effect of citalopram on hippocampal volume in first-episode schizophrenia: Structural MRI results from the DECIFER trial
Psychiatry research. Neuroimaging. 2021 Apr 07; 312:111286
Association of Psychiatric Disorders With Mortality Among Patients With COVID-19
JAMA psychiatry. 2021 Apr 01; 78:380-386
Exposure to Epstein Barr virus and cognitive functioning in individuals with schizophrenia
Schizophrenia research. 2021 Jan 12; 228:193-197
The Pharmacologic Treatment of Schizophrenia-2021
JAMA. 2021 Jan 12; 325:175-176
Quantitative Macromolecular Proton Fraction Mapping Reveals Altered Cortical Myelin Profile in Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders
Cerebral cortex communications. 2021 Jun ; 2:tgab015