UAB Insight Psychiatry Volume 3 - Page 2

N E W P H YS I C I A N S Translational Research With a Focus on Psychiatric Disorders Taylor Preston, MD, will join the Translational research uses multidisciplinary collaborations Department of Psychiatry as an and laboratory research to find explanations that enhance assistant professor upon completion the health and well-being of patients. “With this approach,” of his residency training at UAB says Rita Cowell, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry, “the in June 2013. Preston, one of Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology has the department’s chief residents, prioritized the recruitment of a cadre of scientists to build a received his medical degree from prominent research division focused on translational research.” the UAB School of Medicine and Institutional commitment and philanthropy has provided his undergraduate degree in funding to help recruit nearly 20 junior and senior neuroscience biology from Birmingham-Southern investigators and establish multiple core facilities and solid College. He will assume the role Immunostained sections seen under confocal microscopy show: 1. Rat brain’s distribution pattern of leucinerich repeat kinase 2 (blue) in the striasome compartment (green). 2. Mouse cortex in which cortical projection neurons (green) orient their dendrites in columns and are interspersed with local parvalbuminpositive interneurons (red). 3. Human brain in which the cortical projection neuron (blue) receives synaptic contacts (green) from parvalbuminpositive interneurons (red). These contacts are reduced in schizophrenia. UAB MEDICINE NEWS New Space for Clinical Research Program 1. Clinics, currently managed by Robert McCullumsmith, MD. Nina Kraguljac, MD, will join the Department of Psychiatry as an assistant professor wh en she health issues affecting college-aged youth. AFSP is the leading national nonprofit organization dedicated to understanding and into newly renovated state-of-the-art research space on the preventing suicide through research, education, and advocacy. 10th floor of the Sparks Building. This move will dramatically For the fifth consecutive year, UAB Psychiatry participated in the increase the space available for the program and accommodate annual AFSP Out of the Darkness walks, which raise funds for its recent expansion. The new area comprises 11,767 square feet community outreach and education. UAB Psychiatry was one of and includes 31 faculty and staff offices, a fully appointed exam 2. The departmental clinical research program, including the recently created Mood Disorders Program, recently relocated partnerships over the past 5 years. of director of Outpatient Resident the top five ranked teams, with registered participants including room, lab space for collecting and processing research samples, faculty, staff, residents, and family members. two conference rooms with videoconferencing capabilities, dedicated testing rooms, and a patient waiting area. The clinical research program will be close to the department’s basic research “Each investigator brings special expertise to our team,” labs, facilitating translational research. Cowell’s team dissects the says Cowell. “Their work in newly-renovated space in the in patients with schizophrenia, underlying biological contributions to psychiatric illness with focusing on the development of a the goal of seeking new treatments.” neuron subtype that matures and The group’s recent elucidation of multiple aspects of the McCullumsmith Elected to ACNP Robert McCullumsmith, MD, PhD, associate professor and director of the Adult Ambulatory Division, recently was elected to membership in the American College of underlying cognitive problems Sparks Building allows important synergies as they help define Meador-Woodruff, MD. Active Minds focuses on mental Community Suicide Awareness 3. UAB Psychiatry recently participated in the Send Silence Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP). The ACNP is a nonprofit, professional society solely dedicated to the advancement of Packing event and the American Foundation for Suicide brain disorders including scientific understanding, prevention, contributes to normal brain functioning. She seeks to identify Prevention (AFSP) Out of the Darkness community walk. This, and improvements in treatments. McCullumsmith was elected completes her UAB residency biological basis for psychiatric disorders has resulted in the cellular pathways that could be pharmacologically targeted the first Send Silence Packing event in the South, was sponsored breakdown of each mental illness diagnosis into clusters of for potential treatments. She also collaborates with UAB by the UAB Active Minds Chapter. Some 1100 backpacks were symptoms called endophenotypes. This categorization enables researchers to determine whether cellular targets that are altered laid out across the Campus Green, to symbolize the college- researchers to model individual elements of a psychiatric disorder, in schizophrenia can be used as peripheral biomarkers to predict aged students who complete suicide each year. A.T. Helix, the was elected to associate membership in the ACNP. This is a Medical University, Salzburg, before and also provides a capability to piece the elements back together emergence in at-risk populations as well as its most effective founder and president of the UAB chapter, is an undergraduate competitive category of initial membership that is reserved for joining the Mayo Clinic as a research and reconstruct the disorder in its entirety, Cowell says. treatments.  researcher in the laboratory of Psychiatry Chair James H. rising scholars. Clark BC, Perkins A, McCullumsmith CB, Islam AM, Sung J, Cropsey KL. “What Does Self-identified Drug of Choice Tell Us About Individuals Under Community Corrections Supervision?” J Addict Med. 2012 March;6(1):57-67. assistant professor in the Division of Behavioral Neurobiology, degree from Paracelsus Private Kerman IA. “New Insights Into BDNF Signaling: Relevance to Major Depression and Antidepressant Action.” Am J Psychiatry. 2012 Nov 1;169(11):1137-1140. numerous scholarly achievements. Ilan Kerman, MD, PhD, Austria, she received her medical Kraguljac NV, Reid MA, White DM, den Hollander J, Lahti AC. “Regional Decoupling of N-acetyl-aspartate and Glutamate in Schizophrenia.” Neuropsychopharmacology. 2012 Nov;37(12):2635-2642. to membership in recognition of his scientific stature and training in June 2013. A native of P U B L I C AT I O N S O F N OT E assistant. Kraguljac is one of the All of the department’s primary investigators are working department’s chief residents. Her on a piece of this puzzle. The most recent recruitments include patients with mood disorders because many such patients have research focuses on in vivo imaging Cowell, Sarah Clinton, PhD, Ilan Kerman, MD, PhD, and Karen symptoms of metabolic and autonomic dysfunction. in psychiatric disorders. Gamble, PhD. Kerman’s lab seeks to define brain/body interactions in Clinton’s lab endeavors to identify cellular pathways that Gamble’s lab investigates how the body regulates circadian rhythm. Understanding biological basis for this difficulty could depression, and thereby better understand how life-changing improve treatment of such symptoms as sleep disturbances.  events can influence the onset of a psychiatric illness. continued from cover region refer students to the program, which utilizes a unique integration of education with treatment efforts. In addition, in October 2010, the Alabama severely troubled adolescents in this setting. The department’s Child and Adolescent Psychiatry fellows play a strong role in the development and implementation of our department’s spectrum of fellows are placed throughout UAB and Children’s care. Since the c reation of this fellowship in 1995, Department of Mental Health relocated its adolescent of Alabama, providing care to the youth in the the department has graduated 34 child and adolescent unit from one of the state hospitals to UAB Hospital. community while gaining hands-on experience. Child psychiatrists who have not only provided valuable Not only is excellent care provided, but the move and Adolescent Psychiatry Director Lee Ascherman, services to countless children, but have also helped to also offers the postgraduate fellows in Child and MD, MPH, the Department of Psychiatry’s vice diminish the national shortage of child and adolescent Adolescent Psychiatry the opportunity to work with 2 MEASURES OF SUCCESS are affected by stressful life events that lead to anxiety and chair for education, says, “Our Child and Adolescent psychiatrists.” F OR REF ERR A L S: 1- 8 0 0 - 8 2 2- 6 47 8 UAB psychiatrist clinical productivity, as measured by RVU generation and indexed to national benchmarks, has increased dramatically over the past 7 years, reaching the 71st percentile last year. These gains reflect substantially increased patient volumes for each departmental provider. In addition, the number of clinicians has expanded over this same period, resulting in record numbers of patients seen in the Department of Psychiatry over the last 2 years. F E AT U R E D CLINICAL TRIALS Ramelteon: A Novel Treatment for Bipolar Disorder. Two studies will test the effectiveness of Ramelteon, a sleep medication, to treat bipolar disorder. Ramelteon activates the receptors for melatonin, which controls daily body rhythms and improves sleep. These double-blind, placebo controlled studies will explore whether the addition of Ramelteon helps regulate a patient’s circadian rhythm or sleep cycle, and if so, will that treatment assist bipolar medications. PI: Richard Shelton, MD. Contact: Nicholas Bossaller, 205.975.8541. GLYX-13: Treatment Resistant Depression. This study will evaluate a medication that acts as a new mechanism for the treatment of depression. The study medication, called GLYX-13, serves by changing the activity of the glutamate NMDA receptor in the brain. The infusions of GLYX-13 can be taken as an add-on medication to a stable dose of an antidepressant or by themselves. PI: Richard Shelton, MD. Contact: Brittny White, 205.934.2484. MOR E INF OR M AT ION: /physician 3