Department of Psychiatry
Penn Behavioral Health

Center for Neurobiology and Behavior

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Faculty Bio

Thomas N. Ferraro, PhD
Research Associate Professor of Psychiatry
Department of Psychiatry faculty bio

Dr. Ferraro was trained in Pharmacology (PhD 1985) and Neuroscience (Post doc 1985-1986) at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and is engaged currently in research projects on epilepsy, affective disorders and drug addiction. The perspective that shapes these research projects is based on the concept that common human illnesses result from a complex combination of genetic and environmental factors. Given this background, the goals of the projects in the Ferraro Lab involve mapping the genes in involved in conferring susceptibility to these brain disorders, identifying the causative gene variants and elucidating underlying mechanisms. His laboratory is funded currently by a grant from the National Institutes of Health to study a genetic mouse model of seizures that is relevant to epilepsy. This work is conducted in collaboration with other scientists including Dr. Russ Buono (Chief of Research and Development at DVAMC Coatesville, PA), Dr. Diego Contreras (Dept. Neuroscience) and Dr. Wade Berrettini (Dept. Psychiatry). Dr. Ferraro also collaborates with Dr. Berrettini on genetic studies of addiction and with Dr. Berrettini and Dr. Falk Lohoff on the genetic studies of affective disorders. In addition, Dr. Ferraro has an interest in neuropharmacogenetics and recently has been awarded a pilot grant from the Division of Clinical Epidemiology to study the influence of gene variation on the responsiveness of epilepsy patients to anti-epileptic medication. This project is being conducted in collaboration with Dr. Buono as well as with Drs. Hakon Hakonarson and Dennis Dlugos (CHOP). In addition to research, Dr. Ferraro is active as a standing member on an NIH Study Section (NIDA-K), as a member of the Editorial Board of the journal Epilepsia, as a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of several biotechnology firms (Emerillon Therapeutics and UCB Pharma) and as a councilor on the board of the local Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience.

Areas of Investigation