The biological substrates of schizophrenia, as for many other severe mental illnesses, are largely unknown. Current pharmacological management of schizophrenia is inefficient to treat either the cognitive dysfunctions or the negative symptoms associated to this disorder. Dr. Alfredo Ramos’ research goals are: (1) find those alterations in schizophrenia brain leading to impaired cognitive performance, and (2) develop more specific pharmacological solutions allowing psychiatrists to refine schizophrenia treatment.
To this end, Dr. Ramos’ team is focused in the presynaptic hypothesis of schizophrenia. Previously, they found that schizophrenia postmortem human brain shows altered presynaptic function leading to increased SNARE-mediated neurotransmission. Impaired SNARE complex function is largely associated with cognitive decline. They are currently screening and developing new drugs targeting SNARE complex formation, which eventually may return presynaptic function to a homeostatic equilibrium.
Type Trainee Award
Partner(s) BC Schizophrenia Society Foundation