The Center for Neurochemistry conducts both basic and clinical experiments to identify how the brain responds to drug addiction and mental illness. Our primary focus is on the effects of alcohol, nicotine, and opiates.
With our understanding of brain receptor function, the Center is also studying potential biomarkers for changes in the brain. We are examining blood lymphocytes for potential gene regulation of receptor function in psychiatric illness and in drug exposure (e.g., cigarette smoking).
For understanding psychiatric illnesses, the Center has collaborated in developing animal models for diseases (e.g., schizophrenia), which are utilized to evaluate receptor function, and to test novel drugs for potential treatment. The Center is equipped with a number of behavioral activity monitors and instruments to assay brain function.
Over the years, the Center for Neurochemistry has played a pioneering role in the study of brain metabolism, focusing on two areas: 1) the metabolism of proteins in the brain, examining protein turnover rates through brain development, and the processes in brain protein breakdown; and 2) the blood brain barrier, especially the cerebral transport of amino acids.