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Research Support Services

Functional MRI Core (fMRI)

The functional MRI Facility (fMRIF) is a core resource serving the intramural research program. It was initiated in March of 1999 primarily by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Its function is to serve as a resource by which all NIH institutes can perform functional MRI (fMRI) studies to further the understanding of healthy and diseased brain function and physiology.

Contact: Peter Bandettini, Ph.D.

Human Brain Collection Core (HBCC)

The purpose of the HBCC is to collect human brain tissue, and hair and blood samples from deceased individuals to learn more about the nervous system and mental disorders. Brain tissue is collected postmortem from individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, suicide, bipolar disorder, depression, Tourette’s Syndrome, drug addictions (e.g., PCP, cocaine, alcohol, heroin), and a variety of neurological disorders, as well as individuals without a history of any neuropsychiatric and neurological disease.

Contact: Barbara K. Lipska, Ph.D.

Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Core (MRS)

The magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) core is a facility that focuses on development and technical support of in vivo nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy techniques with the aim to facilitate the clinical and basic research using in vivo MRS.

Contact: Jun Shen, Ph.D.

Magnetoencephalography Core (MEG)

Magnetoencephalography (MEG) is a non-invasive procedure similar to electroencephalography (EEG) in terms of basic principles and analysis, however, MEG consists of sitting in a chair or lying on a bed while your head is inside a helmet shaped device which contains magnetic field sensors.

Contact: Allison Nugent, Ph.D.

Microarray Core

A Microarray Core Facility under the direction of Dr. Abdel Elkahloun (NBGRI). The Microarray Core is a collaboration between NHGRI (lead institute), NIMH, and NINDS.

Contact: Lee Eiden, Ph.D.

Neurodevelopmental and Behavioral Phenotyping Service

The Neurodevelopmental and Behavioral Phenotyping Service conducts developmental and behavioral evaluations on individuals with a variety of neurodevelopmental problems, focusing on young children and individuals of all ages with significant cognitive or social impairments. The goal of the service is to provide behavioral phenotyping for natural history and treatment studies of autism spectrum disorder and genetic disorders associated with intellectual disability, and contribute to outcome measure development for these conditions.

Contact: Audrey Thurm, Ph.D

Neurophysiology Imaging Facility

The Neurophysiology Imaging Facility’s 4.7 Tesla Vertical magnet is one of a handful of scanners in the world dedicated to functional imaging in the alert primate brain. The facility was made possible by joint contributions from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the National Eye Institute (NEI), and the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

Contact: David Leopold, Ph.D.

Neuropsychology Consult Service

The Neuropsychology Consult Service evaluates the cognitive and emotional functioning of patients by integrating NIH patient history with results from individually-administered normative psychological tests (of attention, memory, language, IQ, executive functioning, mood, and personality). NIH patients can be referred for neuropsychological evaluations for clinical purposes (related to their enrollment in an NIH study) and/or as part of protocol-driven research. (Research evaluations require protocol pre-approval.) The goal of this consult service is to assist NIH researchers and clinicians with behavioral phenotyping, patient diagnosis, determining progression of disease, treatment planning, and assessing treatment effects. Evaluations are completed under the direction of licensed psychologists, can be brief (e.g., 30-40 minutes) or as long as five hours depending upon the complexity of the referral question, and can be completed in the NIH Clinical Center outpatient clinics or at patient bedside.

Contact: Joseph Snow, Ph.D.

Psychiatry Consultation Liaison Service

The NIMH PCLS is a multidisciplinary team that provides psychiatric and psychological consultations for patients enrolled in clinical protocols at the NIH CC, a 200-bed hospital with inpatient, outpatient, and day-hospital facilities, serving 18 different NIH Institutes/Centers at the Bethesda, Maryland campus. The PCLS team includes psychiatrists, a psychologist, social worker and consultation liaison fellows. PCLS consultants provide routine and emergency psychiatry consultations in adult and pediatric patients participating in clinical research at the NIH CC. In addition to direct care, the PCLS provides liaison services to medical teams through its expertise in the management of complex health conditions in a research setting. PCLS consultants also play an integral role in the provision of education, training and outreach in the CC and other non-clinical constituent groups on the larger NIH-campus.

Contact: Maryland Pao, M.D.

Scientific and Statistical Computing Core

The mission of the NIMH IRP Scientific and Statistical Computing Core is to develop and provide support for assessment of non-human primate models to assist NIMH IRP research objectives, particularly those related to causes and treatment of psychiatric disorders.

Contact: Robert Cox, Ph.D.

Section on Instrumentation

The mission of the Section on Instrumentation is to provide comprehensive engineering support in a collaborative and synergistic environment for research as required by NIMH, NINDS and NICHD scientists. The Section on Instrumentation Core Facility (formerly Research Services Branch) provides a staff of engineers and technicians to fabricate custom electronic, mechanical, and electromechanical devices and instruments for a full spectrum of biomedical applications.

Contact: George Dold

Sleep and Neurodevelopment Service

The NIMH OCD established this Sleep Service in 2016 in order to better incorporate sleep metrics into the comprehensive assessment of neuropsychiatric illness and neurodevelopmental disorders. The two- bed sleep service offers comprehensive clinical evaluation of sleep disorders in both children and adults including overnight diagnostic testing for all of the Clinical Center. SNS also provides consultation to PIs who seek to incorporate measures of sleep health and sleep EEG signatures into their protocols with a research focus on the normal sleep dependent neuro-maturational changes that are reflected in the sleep EEG.

Contact: Ashura W. Buckley, M.D.

Statistical Genomics and Data Analysis Core

The Statistical Genomics and Data Analysis Core supports general research to transform the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses through the application of the most effective statistical methods. The core provides statistical services, such as analysis of genetic data, survey data, for intramural and extramural scientists through consultation, collaboration and on-site training. They also provide data quality control, data storage and data analysis using the most appropriate statistical methods and state-of-the-art high performance computing systems.

Contact: Yin Yao, Ph.D.

Transgenic Core

The NIMH transgenic core facility produces genetically manipulated mice for neuroscience investigators at the NIH. Transgenic mice can be produced by inserting DNA into mouse oocyte nuclei, or targeting integration to specific loci in embryonic stem (ES) cells. Also, mouse lines can be archived by cryopreservation or rederived by embryo transfer. A collection of ES lines and transgenic vectors are available.

Contact: James Pickel, Ph.D.

Veterinary Medicine Resource Branch

VMRB provides a comprehensive program of animal care and use within the NIMH intramural research program. VMRB and the NIMH Animal Care and Use Committee (ACUC) work together in assuring that the Institute's animal use program is in compliance with all applicable regulations, guidelines, and policies. The program is accredited by the Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International under the National Institutes of Health.

An outstanding animal care and use program is everyone’s responsibility. The VMRB staff provides consultation services that can greatly assist investigators who use or plan to use animals in their research effort. The VMRB can provide training on the humane handling and use of animals in support of neuroscience research, as well as anesthesia, surgery, and other technical procedures. We are here to help you in the preparation of an Animal Study Proposal and facilitate the ACUC approval process. We can provide guidance in the selection of the appropriate species and help with your animal ordering and shipping needs. We can also help coordinate animal procurement, housing, special husbandry requirements, technical service requests and animal movement between facilities or programs. In addition, the VMRB is on-call 24/7 to address your emergency veterinary medical needs. NIMH IRP staff can contact:

Contact: Dr. James Raber, Ph.D., 301-402-3909

Office of the Clinical Director

The mission of the Office of the Clinical Director (OCD) is to ensure that subjects participating in NIMH protocols receive the highest quality clinical care. This is accomplished by the activities of the Human Subjects Protection Unit, the Combined Neuroscience Institutional Review Board (IRB), Clinical Fellowship Training activities, and the Psychiatric Consultation Liaison Service. The overall responsibilities of the office include the following: oversight of the clinical care provided to our research subjects, management of the NIMH protocol review process, administration of the quality assurance program, authorization of medical staff credentials, and allocation of Clinical Center (CC) resources.

The Office of the Clinical Director:

  • Is fully aligned to the NIMH Mission and Strategic Plan
  • Supports Clinical Research in Mental Health in the IRP
  • Ensures that subjects participating in NIMH protocols receive the highest quality clinical care.
  • Facilitates intramural/extramural collaboration