Our lab is located in the Connecticut Mental Health Center (CMHC), which is a collaborative effort between Yale University Department of Psychiatry and the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. CMHC provides clinical services to residents of the Greater New Haven area while also providing a base for mental health research, education, and community problem solving. Our lab offices are specifically housed in the Clinical Neuroscience Research Unit (CNRU), which is a specialized coalition of research groups dedicated to the understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders. The CNRU offers an inpatient facility and outpatient clinics where individuals voluntarily participate in clinical research studies. The Belief, Learning, & Memory Lab employs a variety of study techniques ranging from investigational drug treatment to neuroimaging in order to better understand the root mechanisms underlying disorders such as schizophrenia and addiction.
The NMDA receptor hypofunction model of schizophrenia is based upon the observation of psychotic and cognitive symptoms very similar to the symptom profile of schizophrenia on administration of NMDA receptor antagonists, such as PCP and ketamine. Our work aims to evaluate the NMDA-hypofunction model of schizophrenia by characterising the role of the frontal cortex in associative learning in normal controls, subsequently, healthy volunteers administered ketamine, and in individuals with schizophrenia. The explanatory power of the ketamine model will be assessed by the extent to which the particular aspects of task performance (both behavioral and neurophysiological) that are attenuated under ketamine are congruent with the patterns of performance observed in patients with schizophrenia.