Research in the Division of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science is led by Eric Achtyes, MD, MS and Lena Brundin, MD, PhD.

Image of Dr. Achtyes

Dr. Achtyes’ work has focused on clinical translational work in patients with schizophrenia and depressive disorders

He has served as PI or co-PI on more than 10 clinical trials including several federally-funded research protocols from NIDA, NIMH, NIAAA and CMS including: a smoking cessation study for patients with schizophrenia that utilizes pharmacotherapy and group cognitive behavorial therapy (PI: Eden Evins); a study assessing the use of folate and vitamin B12 for the treatment of negative symptoms in schizophrenia (PI: Don Goff); RAISE, a study of patients experiencing a first episode psychosis (PI: John Kane); the ICRC study which is seeking utilize technological aids like cell phone and computer applications to prevent relapse and reduce the cost of care in patients with schizophrenia (PI: John Kane), and another study to decrease alcohol consumption in patients with schizophrenia (PI: Alan Green).

Dr. Achtyes also coauthored a paper on the risk of postpartum hemorrhage associated with SSRI use in pregnant women (PI: Soko Setoguchi). He has also been a co-PI on several studies of depression in outpatient populations, including a study of pharmacogenomics in depressed populations (PI: Kevin Furmaga) and, utilization of a new tool, the CAT-DI, to assess for depressive symptom severity in psychiatric outpatients (PI: Robert Gibbons). This study also sought to measure biomarkers of inflammation in depressed patients (co-PI: Lena Brundin). Dr. Achtyes also practices ECT, and has worked on a study of ECT for the treatment of behavioral disturbances in advanced dementia (PI: Brent Forester and Jack Mahdasian).

Image of Lena Brundin

Dr Lena Brundin's laboratory of behavioral medicine works with the hypothesis that inflammation in the brain contributes to psychiatric symptoms. The group works in a translational fashion, spanning experiments in animal- and cell models to clinical studies in psychiatric patients. A particular clinical focus is depression and suicidality.

Several publications from the group have shown evidence of inflammation, in the form of elevated cytokines and inflammatory metabolites, in cerebrospinal fluid and plasma of depressive and suicidal patients. In translational experiments, the group is trying to understand at a detailed neurobiological level how the inflammatory substances exert their effects, and what regions in the brain are involved. The aim is to find novel therapeutic options for patients with depression, anxiety and suicidality.

Technical Expertise:
•     High sensitivity cytokine measures
•     Psychiatric rating scales and assessment of human behaviour
•     Clinical depression, anxiety and suicidality
•     Gene therapy
•     Stereotaxic surgery
•     Behavioral evaluations of depression and anxiety in models
•     ELISA, Western blot, Q-PCR, immunohistochemistry
•     Cell cultures
•     Stereology