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Researchers on the Rise Lecture September 15, 2017, 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm WPIC Auditorium

Researchers on the Rise Lecture

Dissecting Response to Antipsychotic Treatment with Functional Neuroimaging 

 Deepak Sarpal, MD
 Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
 University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine




Dr. Sarpal completed residency training in psychiatry at The Zucker Hillside Hospital/Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine in 2015. He joined the faculty in the department of psychiatry in December, 2016, as assistant professor. He also serves as medical director of the Services for the Treatment of Early Psychoses (STEP) clinic. His research is focused on the neurobiology of clinical response to treatment in patients with psychotic disorders. To support his work, he received a K23 award from the NIMH to examine functional neuroimaging biomarkers of response to clozapine in treatment-refractory patients with schizophrenia.

DNA Methylation as a Mechanism for Reduced Dendritic Spine Density in Schizophrenia  

 Brandon McKinney, MD, PhD
 Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
 University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine





Dr. McKinney earned his MD and PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Michigan, and completed his residency training at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC. His subsequent work as a postdoctoral scholar in the Pitt Department of Psychiatry’s T32 Training for Transformative Discovery served as the basis of his K23 career development award from the National Institute of Mental Health. Dr. McKinney studies the regulation of gene expression by DNA methylation in schizophrenia. His studies utilize postmortem brain tissue from individuals with schizophrenia, primary neuronal cultures, and cutting-edge molecular and statistical approaches to genomic/epigenetic data to identify epigenetic drug targets and novel treatment approaches. 

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this lecture, participants will be able to: 

  1. Appreciate the variation in response to antipsychotic treatment in patients with schizophrenia.
  2. Understand evidence from longitudinal studies implicating striatal functional connectivity in the response to antipsychotic drugs.
  3. Summarize the importance for and approach to using functional imaging to examine response to clozapine treatment.
  4. List two auditory sensory deficits observed in individuals with schizophrenia.
  5. Name two specific structural abnormalities observed in postmortem auditory cortex tissue from individuals with schizophrenia.
  6. Describe the typical effect of DNA methylation of a gene’s promoter region on transcription of that gene.

Continuing Education Credit:  The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.  The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine designates this educational activity for a maximum of 1.5 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM.  Each physician should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Other health care professionals are awarded .15 continuing education units (CEUs), which are equal to 1.5 contact hours.  In accordance with Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education requirements on disclosure, information about relationships of presenters with commercial interests (if any) will be included in materials which will be distributed at the time of the conference.  WPIC is approved by the American Psychological Association to offer continuing education for psychologists. WPIC maintains responsibility for this program and its contents.  This program is being offered for 1.5 continuing education credits. 

For more information regarding this lecture, please contact Frances Patrick at