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Schizophrenia

Schizophrenic individuals suffer from psychosis, that is, hallucinations and delusions that can be very intense and debilitating. Current anti-psychotics do quite a good job suppressing these psychotic symptoms. However they do not do very much to address the cognitive symptoms, and so the cognitive symptoms – impairments in learning, memory, perception, reasoning, etc – persist. Thus, “Antipsychotic drugs have emptied out our mental institutions, but have delivered their residents to impoverished lives outside. Research has linked elements of this poor psychosocial function to persistent cognitive impairments.” (Geyer & Tamminga, 2004). We work on the development of assays for understanding cognition in models of schizophrenia. We are members of the NEWMEDS consortium, which is part of the European Union Innovative Medicines Initiative. NEWMEDS brings together scientists from academic institutions with a wide range of expertise, as well as most of the major European biopharmaceutical companies. The project focuses on developing new animal models and the use of brain recording and behavioural tests to identify innovative and effective drugs for schizophrenia.

People specializing in this area

Postdocs

Dr Johan Alsio, PhD
My main research interest is the cognitive control over behaviour in health and disease. I am currently studying the neurobiological basis of cognitive flexibility in the intact brain and in preclinical models of schizophrenia.

Past Members

Daniel Kofink
Visiting MSc student from Utrecht University, September 2011 - May 2012.
Katie McAllister
Development and validation of preclinical touchscreen tasks for the assessment of cognitive impairments present in schizophrenia.