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Molecular and Cellular Psychopathology Program


This program supports research seeking to understand the neuroscience of psychopathology at a molecular and/or cellular level; its goal is to reveal how direct and/or indirect alterations of molecular pathways (resulting in abnormal signal transduction, neural/synaptic plasticity, development, hormonal and homeostatic regulation, etc.) lead to symptoms or symptom complexes that are characteristic of mental disorders. Appropriate applications may employ tissue culture, animal models, electrophysiology, neurochemistry, neuroendocrinology, genetic approaches, studies of human postmortem tissue, and/or neuroimaging to elucidate the neural systems involved in major mental illnesses, personality disorders, or abnormal behaviors.

Areas of Emphasis

  • Identification of valid and unique neurophysiological markers or complex(es) of markers for the major mental and personality disorders.
  • Development of animal and/or computational models that accurately mimic complex neurophysiology or behaviors characteristic of mental illness.
  • Comparisons between CNS characteristics of mental disorders and "other" brain disorders sharing specific abnormal behaviors or symptoms.
  • Examination of how complex interactions between neural signaling systems may readjust behavior from functional to dysfunctional.
  • Promotion of the application of exploratory but potentially relevant neuroscience areas to the study of mental disorders.


Douglas L. Meinecke, Ph.D.
Program Chief
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 7124, MSC 9639
301-443-1692, dmeineck@mail.nih