Department of Psychiatry

Penn Behavioral Health

Models of Disease and Research Strategies

Behavioral Genetics

The Behavioral Genetics Laboratory under the direction of R. Arlen Price, PhD is focused on the identification and characterization of genes affecting human obesity and other complex traits having behavioral components. The Laboratory has developed three of the largest and most comprehensively assessed cohorts in the world.

The BGL maintains well-established programs in mapping and identifying genes affecting human obesity, continuing to use cutting-edge approaches to identify genes for complex traits, including participation in whole genome association studies. The laboratory continues to develop its research programs within the focus of the NIH Strategic Plan for Human Obesity Research.

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Behavioral Psychopharmacology

The Behavioral Psychopharmacology Laboratory, under the direction of Irwin Lucki, PhD, is an interdisciplinary blend of psychology and neurobiology. The major ongoing focus of the Behavioral Psychopharmacology Laboratory is the investigation of neural mechanisms underlying the behavioral effects of psychiatric medicines (e.g., antidepressant and antianxiety drugs) using animal models. The scientific goals of the laboratory are to understand the neural mechanisms associated with anxiety and mood disorders and to discover new approaches for the development of improved therapies for clinical treatment.

Approaches in the laboratory include: the study of behavioral pharmacology of affective and anxiety disorders, the use of genetically altered mice to study models of mice that are deficient of specific serotonin receptors or synthetic enzymes for monoamine transmitters, the use of behavioral genetics to identify genes associated with abnormal behaviors, pharmacogenetic predispostions for the effects of antidepressant drugs, neural mechanisms associated with stress vulnerability and resilience, and the involvement of neurogenesis and neuroplasticity in antidepressant treatments.

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Chromatin Remodeling

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Drug Self-Administration in Rodents

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Epigenetics

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Gene Expression Regulation

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Gene Mapping

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Learning and Behavior

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Learning and Memory

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Molecular and Cellular Neuropathology

The Molecular and Cellular Neuropathology Program, under the direction of Steven E. Arnold, MD, is a translational research program that conducts neurobiological investigations of behavior, cognition, and severe mental illnesses across the lifespan. The CMNP employs a diverse array of approaches including: examination of neural tissues from adolescents, adults, and the elderly, as well as mouse and cell culture models; the anatomic, pathological, biochemical, and molecular biological methods; and analytic approaches. It has also developed a unique protocol for conducting olfactory epithelial biopsies in living subjects to obtain neurons for molecular studies and to grow them in culture for experimental studies.

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Neurodegeneration

Neurodevelopment

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Pharmacogenetics

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Pharmacogenomics

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Psychiatric Genetics

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Social Neuroscience

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