Skip to content

Neuroscience and Psychiatry Modules

Recent developments in neuroscience can help inform clinicians' understanding of cognition, emotion, behavioral regulation, and social interactions—all critical aspects of people's lives that are dramatically affected in psychiatric disorders. Some areas of neuroscience are of particular relevance to clinicians because they help further the understanding of patients and can lead to the development of novel therapeutics.

The "Neuroscience and Psychiatry" series of online teaching modules aims to present stories of discovery in neuroscience that have relevance and applicability in the clinic.

The first module describes the work of David Lewis, M.D., who was concerned with cognitive deficits typical of schizophrenia. These deficits are detrimental to functioning and cannot be managed effectively with current treatments. Dr. Lewis and his colleagues studied correlates of these cognitive deficits at the molecular, cellular, and systems levels. Based on this work, they developed a novel medication for cognitive deficits in schizophrenia that can be tested in clinical trials.

The second module describes the work of Michael Davis, Ph.D., Kerry Ressler, Ph.D., and colleagues, who, using an animal model of fear, were able to further the understanding of the circuitry and neurochemistry involved in fear and anxiety in humans. They used this knowledge to develop and test cognitive and pharmacological treatments in patients with anxiety disorders.

To best use these teaching modules:

  • Take the pretest to evaluate your knowledge
  • Read the clinical case which illustrates clinical application
  • View the science video (note that the videos are divided into sections, allowing you to replay portions of the video as needed)
  • Take the post-test to evaluate what you have learned.

Please note that the examples used in these modules are meant to illustrate approaches to tackling scientific questions of clinical relevance. They are not intended to be comprehensive reviews of the literature or a set of clinical recommendations.

NIMH does not intend to provide specific medical advice on our website, but rather to help visitors better understand mental health and disorders. NIMH will not provide specific medical advice and urges people with mental health concerns to consult with a qualified mental health or health care provider for diagnosis and for answers to their personal questions.

Neuroscience and Psychiatry Module 1
Translating Neural Circuits into Novel Therapeutics


This is the first in a series of modules on neuroscience and psychiatry. This module explores research on cognitive deficits, a core feature of schizophrenia and the single best predictor of functional outcomes in this disorder for which we currently have no treatments. This module is an example of how translational neuroscience can provide clues for the development of promising novel therapeutics.


Neuroscience and Psychiatry Module 2
Fear/Safety, Anxiety, and Anxiety Disorders

neuroscience psychiatry module 2 receptor

This is the second in a series of modules on neuroscience and psychiatry. This module describes neuroscience research on animal models of fear that informed human studies of fear/safety, anxiety and anxiety disorders. This model helps shed light on the symptoms of PTSD and lead to the development of a novel treatment that has been successful in research studies for several anxiety disorders.