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Transforming the understanding
and treatment of mental illnesses.

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Research Support Services

Research support services provide scientific consulting, cutting-edge technologies and approaches, and other resources to investigators inside and outside of NIMH. These specialized services help make the NIMH IRP an optimal environment for conducting mental health research and accelerating discoveries.

Data Science and Sharing Team

The goal of the Data Science and Sharing Team is to support and advance the creation, distribution, and utilization of large, open datasets to accelerate discovery within the NIMH Intramural Research Program. We provide tools and training to help scientists within the IRP embrace open and reproducible science practices. This includes:

  • Standardized, community recognized formats and repositories for data storage and dissemination
  • Collaborative, version-controlled tools for developing analysis code
  • Open distribution of all experimental methods and results to maximize impact and reproducibility

Contact: Adam Thomas, Ph.D.

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: Acting Director, Stefano Marenco, M.D.

Machine Learning Team

The mission of the Machine Learning Team is to support researchers in the NIMH intramural research program who want to address research problems in clinical and cognitive neuroscience using machine learning approaches. We do this by consulting with individual researchers and guiding them in the use of the appropriate tools and methods, or by taking on the analysis process ourselves, if this is more expedient. In parallel, we develop new methods and analysis approaches, motivated by the needs of researchers or by the practical possibilities arising from advances in the field.

Contact: Francisco Pereira, 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.

Noninvasive Neuromodulation Unit (NNU)

The Noninvasive Neuromodulation Service focuses on developing novel noninvasive neuromodulation tools, coupled with brain measurements via neurophysiology and neuroimaging, to measure and modulate neural plasticity for the study and treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders. We provide expertise in neuromodulation tools to support other NIH and extramural investigators, and we conduct research projects focused on advancing neuromodulation technologies to improve their utility and safety. Specifically, we develop novel stimulation paradigms and biomarker batteries to investigate brain-behavior relationships and to inform novel intervention development. Our team, spanning the fields of psychiatry, engineering, neuroscience and psychology, has expertise in electric field modeling, device and coil design for transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), cognitive neuroscience trials employing image-guided neuromodulation, and the translational development of novel treatments in preclinical models, healthy volunteers, and clinical populations. Technologies we support include Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), magnetic seizure therapy (MST), TMS-compatible EEG (electroencephalography), and TMS/fMRI interleaving) facilities. We supply state of the art TMS, tDCS, EEG, EMG (electromyography), frameless stereotaxy, perturbation/physiology equipment and associated data processing pipelines to support NIH IRP and extramural investigators.

Contact: Sarah H. Lisanby, MD

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: Haniya Raza D.O., M.P.H

Rodent Behavioral Core (RBC)

The NIMH Rodent Behavioral Core (RBC) was initiated to address the growing need across NIH to have an intramural resource for high throughput, efficient and targeted behavioral testing of rodents. The RBC offers NIH researchers validated and reliable testing of mice and rats over a broad range of physiological and behavioral domains including general health, cognitive, emotional, sensory, and motor function.

Contact: Yogita Chudasama Ph.D.

Scientific and Statistical Computing Core

The primary function of this core is to support functional neuroimaging research at the NIH. This includes development of new data analysis techniques; their implementation in the publicly available AFNI software; advising researchers on the analysis methods, data visualization and quality control; and instructing them in the use of software tools

Contact: Paul Taylor, 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, M.S.

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.

Systems Neuroscience Imaging Resource (SNIR)

The Systems Neuroscience Imaging Resource (SNIR) makes tools for contemporary systems level molecular anatomy accessible to NIMH, and other investigators. Current approaches to investigation of brain circuits and systems require analyses of neuronal projections, gene expression, and protein distribution patterns at cellular or sub-cellular resolution across multiple brain regions. The SNIR provides access to appropriate hardware, software, wet lab procedures, training, support and expertise. The SNIR facilitates access to technologies such as high-throughput wide-field microscopy, deep tissue imaging via laser scanning confocal microscopy, and light sheet microscopy. It also facilitates the application of recently developed genetic, molecular, and imaging and image analysis techniques to the projects and problems of intramural investigators. A particular focus is the facilitation of work incorporating advances in 3D reconstruction of specified circuits, cell types, and protein distributions, combining modern clearing, image acquisition, and volume reconstruction methods.

Contact: Ted Usdin, M.D., 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:

Acting Director, Dr. Krystal Allen-Worthington, DVM, Ph.D.

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