Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Schizophrenia Research Forum at MCG September 14

The Medical College of Georgia will sponsor a free public forum on schizophrenia research from 1-4 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 14 in the first-floor auditorium, room EC 1218, of the Health Sciences Building, located at 987 St. Sebastian Way.

MCG is one of 48 universities selected nationally to host the inaugural forum, part of the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression’s Healthy Minds Across America, a national day of free public forums on mental health research. The alliance is the world’s leading charity dedicated solely to mental health research.

Speakers at the MCG conference, all alliance award winners, will be Dr. Clare M. Bergson, an assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology in the School of Medicine and associate professor of graduate studies, who researches the brain chemistry of schizophrenics; Dr. Brian Kirkpatrick, professor and vice chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior in the School of Medicine, who researches obstacles to recovery; and Dr. Lin Mei, Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar, chief of developmental neurobiology, professor of neurology in the School of Medicine and professor of graduate studies, who studies genes and brain development in schizophrenia. The panel will be moderated by Dr. Peter F. Buckley, professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior and associate dean for leadership development in the School of Medicine.

MCG is at the forefront of schizophrenia research with several federal grants to study the disease. Research includes Dr. Mei’s $1.6 million National Institutes of Health grant to study neuregulin-1, a gene that when mutated could cause problems with neuron communication and possibly lead to schizophrenia; and Dr. Buckley’s supplemental grant from the National Institutes of Mental Health to study a potential biomarker for schizophrenia relapse. Dr. Kirkpatrick also has received federal funding to study whether schizophrenia increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.

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