Skip to main content

Transforming the understanding
and treatment of mental illnesses.

Celebrating 75 Years! Learn More >>

Molecular and Cellular Pathophysiology Program


This program supports research directed toward developing a mechanistic understanding of the neural bases of mental disorders in adults (ages 18+) at the molecular and cellular level. The goal is to reveal how direct and/or indirect alterations of molecular pathways contribute to the genesis of symptoms and alterations in dimensional constructs (RDoC) of mental disorders. Appropriate applications will employ a diverse range of technical and methodological approaches in an effort to elucidate how interactions between genetic mechanisms and molecular pathways contribute to the etiology, pathogenesis, and phenotypic expression of adult mental disorders and how this knowledge may be exploited for the identification and development of novel therapeutic targets.

Areas of Emphasis

  • Identification of valid and specific biological markers or biosignatures for psychopathology and RDoC dimensional constructs of abnormal behavioral processes
  • Specification of molecular pathway dysfunction(s) which serve as targets for translation to therapeutics development. Included are signal pathway transduction, protein-protein interactions, second messenger cascades, spatiotemporal compartmentalization, control of bioenergetics, and transcriptional control mechanisms
  • Examination of how genetic and molecular lesions contribute to abnormal neural signaling which is manifested as dysfunctional behavior associated with psychopathology, including dimensional approaches reflected in RDoC constructs


Douglas L. Meinecke, Ph.D.
Program Chief
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 7124, MSC 9639
301-443-6767, dmeineck@mail.nih