DECODE award will enable research into biology of PTSD

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Alex Kwan, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry and of neurobiology at Yale School of Medicine, has received a DECODE grant to probe the cellular mechanisms that lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The project will be led by Alfred Kaye, MD, PhD, a psychiatry resident affiliated with the department’s Neuroscience Research Training Program. Ronald Duman, PhD, the Elizabeth Mears and House Jameson Professor of Psychiatry and professor of neurobiology, will serve as an additional co-investigator.

Human brain imaging studies have suggested that PTSD patients have abnormal processing of fear information in the amygdala, but have not revealed the precise neural mechanisms that lead to impairment. In order to better develop pharmacological therapies for PTSD, the Yale project aims to observe the evolution of information processing in the amygdala.

The DECODE grant program was launched by Inscopix, Inc in support of the President’s BRAIN Initiative. The goal of both the initiative and the grant program is to improve our understanding of how the brain functions in order to better prevent and treat diseases of the brain.

The DECODE grant will provide imaging equipment and infrastructure support over the course of two years.

The award was presented to Kwan at a ceremony on Sunday, November 16th in Washington, D.C. during the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. Thomas Insel, MD, director of the National Institute of Mental Health presided over the event.

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