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Researchers on the Rise January 23, 2015, 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm WPIC Auditorium

Researchers on the Rise Lectures


Understanding the OCD Brain: Using New Technologies to Build Bridges Between Humans and Mice

Susanne E. Ahmari, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Director, Translational OCD Laboratory 

Dr. Susanne Ahmari is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at University of Pittsburgh.  She first performed neuroscience research as an undergrad at University of Illinois. She then received an MD/PhD from Stanford, using advanced microscopy techniques to examine mechanisms underlying synapse formation. When she returned to research as a post-doc in Rene Hen’s lab after psychiatry residency at Columbia, she used optogenetics to dissect neural circuits underlying OCD-relevant behaviors during her NIMH K08 award. In 2013, Dr. Ahmari moved to University of Pittsburgh to become Director of the Translational OCD Laboratory. Her lab uses cutting-edge technologies in rodents, including miniaturized head-mounted microscopes, optogenetics, and in vivo recording, to identify brain changes linked to onset, persistence, and treatment of OCD-relevant behaviors. Findings from studies in patients are used to guide animal research in the lab. The overall goal is to discover brain abnormalities that lead to OCD, and ultimately develop new treatments to help those affected. This work is supported by an NIMH BRAINS Award, Burroughs Wellcome Career Award, MQ Fellows Award, and NARSAD Young Investigator Award.

Learning Objectives:  At the conclusion of Dr. Ahmari's lecture, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the basic principles of optogenetics.
  2. Understand appropriate use of mouse model systems to dissect neural circuits underlying psychiatric disorders.
  3. Understand general strategies for incorporating findings from clinical populations into animal models. 

Understanding Auditory Deficits in Schizophrenia Using a Non-Human Primate Model System

Tobias Teichert, PhD
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Bioengineering

Dr. Teichert completed his undergraduate studies in Psychology and Mathematics at the Heinrich Heine University of Düsseldorf. After graduating with a BA in Mathematics (2002) and a MA-equivalent diploma in Psychology (2003), he worked with Dr. Reinhard Eckhorn in the NeuroPhysics Department at the Philipps-University of Marburg. In 2007 he received a PhD for his work on the role of gamma-oscillations in primary visual cortex for object perception. Dr. Teichert then did a post-doctoral fellowship in the lab of Vincent Ferrera in the Department of Neuroscience at Columbia University, where he received funding from the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Kavli Foundation. He used a combination of detailed behavioral analyses, single-cell recordings and pharmacological interventions to dissect the neural mechanisms of adaptive decision-making. In 2013 Dr. Teichert joined the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh as an Assistant Professor. He currently studies auditory deficits in patients with schizophrenia using a non-human primate model system.

Learning Objectives:  At the conclusion of Dr. Teichert's lecture, participants will be able to:

  1. Briefly describe the auditory deficits in patients with schizophrenia.
  2. Discuss the challenges and opportunities of studying auditory deficits in Schizophrenia using a non-human primate model system.
  3. Uetter understand the neural mechanisms that underly the normal and impaired auditory information processing.


Continuing Education Credit:  The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.  The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine designates this educational activity for a maximum of 1.5 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM.  Each physician should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.  Other health care professionals are awarded .15 continuing education units (CEUs), which are equal to 1.5 contact hours.  In accordance with Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education requirements on disclosure, information about relationships of presenters with commercial interests (if any) will be included in materials which will be distributed at the time of the conference.  WPIC is approved by the American Psychological Association to offer continuing education for psychologists.  WPIC maintains responsibility for this program and its contents.  This program is being offered for 1.5 continuing education credits. 

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