Convergent Pathways to Psychosis in Clinical and Genetic High Risk Youth


Convergent Pathways to Psychosis in Clinical and Genetic High Risk Youth

Carrie Bearden, PhD Professor of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences and Joanne and George Miller and Family Endowed Chair, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, University of California/Los Angeles

The Department of Psychiatry Lecture Series features the work of Carrie Bearden, PhD, Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles on January 18th. Dr. Bearden will present a Special Guest Lecture highlighting her findings.

Dr. Carrie BeardenDr. Carrie Bearden's research aims to understand neurobiological risk factors for the development of serious mental illness, using converging methods to study cognition and neuroanatomy in clinical high-risk samples (e.g., adolescents with early symptoms of psychosis), and in highly penetrant genetic subtypes of the illness (e.g., 22q11.2 microdeletions). Her recent work focuses on translational approaches to understanding disrupted brain circuitry in developmental neuropsychiatric disorders, particularly in the context of unique genetic populations. The study of risk factors for psychosis has been approached through multiple avenues, including studies of youth at clinical high risk for the disorder and investigations of copy number variants or structural genetic mutations that confer risk. Each approach can inform and provide insight to the other, potentially resulting in synergistic models for understanding the ways in which heterogeneous genetic etiologies can affect brain development and ultimately behavior, converging in a final common pathway to this debilitating disorder. Dr. Bearden will critically evaluate the extent to which genetic and neurodevelopmental factors that place youth at either clinical or genetic high risk for schizophrenia converge. Findings will be presented from multimodal neuroimaging studies of 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11DS), a contiguous gene deletion disorder that conveys the greatest increase in risk for schizophrenia in the population. She will also address parallel findings from the North American Prodrome Longitudinal Study (NAPLS), which has followed approximately 250 youth at clinical high risk for psychosis for 2 1⁄2 years. She will also discuss the commonalities found across these cohorts to identify factors that can lead to early identification of - and mechanistically informed interventions for - individuals who are at heightened genetic or clinical risk. 

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this lecture, participants will be able to:

  1. Identify risk factors relevant to the development of psychosis in adolescence and early adulthood. 

  2. Discuss current knowledge of the genetic architecture of schizophrenia.

  3. Identify points of convergence between different etiologies of psychosis. 

The entirety of this program will be a lecture by the speaker(s). All individuals able to control the content of this educational activity are required to disclose all relevant financial relationships with any proprietary entity producing, marketing, re-selling, or distributing health care goods or services, used on, or consumed by, patients. Registration is not required for this event. This event is free and there will be no refunds. The University of Pittsburgh is an affirmative action, equal opportunity institution

Location. UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital Auditorium.

For More Information. Please contact Frances Patrick (Telephone: 412-246-6787; Email:

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.
The indicated number of clock hours of continuing education is provided through Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC’s Office of Educational Resources and Planning, a PA-approved provider of social work continuing education in accordance with all the applicable educational and professional standards of the Pennsylvania State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapist.  These clock hours satisfy requirements for LSW/LCSW, LPC and LMFT renewal. For more information, call (412) 204-9085.