My laboratory is involved in characterizing drug interactions with neurotransmitter transporters and receptors. A major goal is to identify potential therapeutic agents for the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders including Parkinson’s disease, alcohol and drug abuse, depression, and schizophrenia. Methods we use include determining the effects of drugs on radioligand binding to, on neurotransmitter uptake and release by cells expressing cloned DNA for the respective human transporters, and on receptor activation and second messenger system function.
In addition, we are characterizing recently-discovered receptor/second messenger systems that may play a role in the development of symptoms of potential subtypes of schizophrenia, as well as the role of exogenous substances on disease development . Alteration of these systems may serve as medical, as opposed to behavioral, diagnostic criteria for the disorder(s).