Functional disconnections and the pathophysiology of psychosis

Research Opportunity
PhD, Masters by Research, Honours, Master of Biomedical Science
Project Status
Medicine and Radiology
Royal Melbourne Hospital
Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Nigel Jones Personal web page

Project Details

Functional disconnections in cortico‐thalamo‐cortical (CTC) systems, the neuronal circuits of attention, cognition and perception, are thought to underlie dysfunction of conscious integration such as those seen in schizophrenia. More than 80% of the neurons that make up the CTC systems are glutamatergic. There is considerable evidence to suggest that NMDA‐type glutamate receptors are implicated in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. Non‐competitive NMDA receptor antagonists (PCP, ketamine, MK‐801), at subanaesthetic doses, induce cognition impairment, schizophreniform psychosis, hallucinations, and exacerbate both positive and negative symptoms in schizophrenic patients. In rodents, ketamine produces a wide spectrum of abnormal behaviour relevant to schizophrenia.

The neuronal mechanisms underlying transient disruption in NMDA receptor function remain to be determined. CTC circuits generate coherent synchronized gamma frequency (30‐80 Hz) oscillations during conscious brain operations. Disruption of cognition‐related coherences of gamma oscillations between cortical areas is a major functional abnormality in schizophrenic patients. This project will explore the hypothesis that aberrant cortical gamma frequency activity induced by ketamine mediates alterations in behavioural activity, thereby linking NMDA-mediated dysfunction of neuronal activity to schizophrenic-like behaviour.

Faculty Research Themes


School Research Themes

Neuroscience & Psychiatry

Research Opportunities

PhD, Masters by Research, Honours, Master of Biomedical Science
Graduate Research Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other Graduate Research requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

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Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.


Medicine and Radiology

Research Group / Unit / Centre

Jones Laboratory: Epilepsy and Behaviour

Research Node

Royal Melbourne Hospital

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