The Laboratory of Clinical Science (LCS) explores the neurobiology
of neuropsychiatric disorders using molecular, neurochemical and genetic
techniques. Our Laboratory has two research arenas.
In the laboratory, the serotonin neurotransmitter system and one of its key components,
the serotonin transporter (SERT), are the primary targets of our Investigations. The development of the SERT gene knockout mouse in our laboratory provided a new living
tool to study the serotonin system and in particular serotonin receptors -- the target molecules for the
largest numbers of neuropsychiatric drugs used in the world. The SERT knockout mouse differs from the wild-type mouse in more than forty different ways, including
neurochemical, behavioral and other phenotypic changes. This mouse model data is helping to guide the
LCS and other laboratories in investigations of polymorphisms and mutations recently discovered in the human SERT gene. Six of these human gene variants are now known
to have functional consequences and to be associated with neuropsychiatric, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal disorders.
Clinical Genetic Investigations:
In clinical investigations, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and related OCD spectrum disorders are the primary focus.
Genetic studies, both at the molecular level and at the clinical phenotype level, comprise the main methodological approach. In addition, the LCS collaborates with other OCD research groups worldwide in genetic studies of individuals with OCD and related disorders.