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Skosnik, Radhakrishnan receive grant to measure density of brain synapses in patients with schizophrenia

November 14, 2016

Patrick D. Skosnik, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, and Rajiv Radhakrishnan, MD, Clinical Instructor in the Yale Department of Psychiatry, will collaborate on a project to measure the density of brain synapses in patients with schizophrenia.

Skosnik and Radhakrishnan were this year's nominees from Yale for the Dana Foundation David Mahoney Neuroimaging Grant Program. Their project, "In vivo Imaging of Synaptic Density in Schizophrenia," has been awarded a $200,000 grant over three years from the Dana Foundation.

Using a new positron emission tomography (PET) tracer ([11C] UCB-J) developed by the Yale PET Center, Skosnik and Radhakrishnan will measure for the first time ever the density of brain synapses in patients with schizophrenia.

This will allow them to examine whether this disorder, and its symptoms and degrees of severity, are directly associated with decreases in brain synapses.

They will also utilize electroencephalography (EEG) to measure alterations in neural network function, and will attempt to determine whether such alterations relate to degree of synaptic loss.

The Dana Foundation supports research on imaging innovations that help reveal how the human brain functions normally, how disorders and injuries alter these functions, and how various therapies affect these conditions, according to its website.


Submitted by Christopher Gardner on November 14, 2016