Delineating neural mechanisms underlying cognitive/behavioral abnormalities in psychiatric disorders
Serious mental illness results in numerous behavioral and cognitive abnormalities. Understanding the mechanisms that underlie normal behavior and cognition is an important start to developing treatment for these disorders. Dr. Young’s research interests focus on using cross-species translational paradigms to understand these mechanisms. These paradigms are then employed to develop better models of dysfunctional mechanisms relevant to psychiatric disorders. From better models - with etiological relevance to the disorder - we can develop targeted treatments, the clinical relevance of which can then be tested using the same paradigms in humans.
Dr. Young’s primary interest is on understanding aspects of cognitive functioning with relevance to real world functioning. He developed and uses several cognitive tests that can be conducted in rodents and humans to understand mechanisms underlying specific cognitive domains, such as attention, impulsivity, working memory, decision-making, and learning. Examples of this research includes using genetic, pharmacological, and adeno-associated viral techniques to examine what role the dopamine D1 receptor plays in each of these cognitive domains. Another example has been testing a genetic model of bipolar disorder mania to develop putative treatments for the inattention and impulsivity observed in the model, which are also seen in patients when tested by our collaborators in a fMRI setting. Finally, beyond genetic models, Dr. Young is also interested in determining environment X genetic susceptibility factors that may underlie the expression of behavioral abnormalities, including those observed in cycling between depression and mania. Using these paradigms in humans and in animals provides the opportunity for bench-to-bedside translational research, with increased likelihood of clinical success for treating the numerous behavioral and cognitive abnormalities seen in psychiatric disorders.
Young, JW, Light, GA, Sharp, R, and Geyer, MA, (2009). Development of the rodent continuous performance test: Implications for drug discovery. PLoS ONE 4(1): e4227. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0004227
Young, JW, Risbrough, V, Powell, Marston, HM, and Geyer, MA, (2009). Using the MATRICS to guide development of a preclinical cognitive test battery for research in schizophrenia. Pharmacology & Therapeutics. 122(2):150-202.
Young, JW and Geyer, MA, (2010). Action of modafinil – increased motivation via dopamine transporter inhibition and D1 receptors? Biological Psychiatry. 67(8): 784-787.
Young, JW, van Enkhuizen, JE, Winstanley, C, and Geyer, MA, (2011). Increased gambling behaviour in a mouse model of mania. Journal of Psychopharmacology. 25(7): 934-943.
Young, JW, Henry, BL, and Geyer, MA, (2011). Predictive validity of animal models of mania: hits, misses, and future directions. British Journal of Pharmacology, 164(4): 1263-1284.
Amitai, N, Weber, M, Swerdlow, NR, Sharp, RF, Breier, MR, Halberstadt, AL, and Young, JW, (2013). A novel visuouspatialpriming task for rats with relevance to Tourette syndrome: evidence for rate-dependent effects of amphetamine. Neuroscience Biobehavioral Reviews
Young, JW, Meves, JM, and Geyer, MA (2013). Nicotinic agonist-induced improvement of vigilance in mice in the 5-choice continuous performance test. Behavioral Brain Research. 240: 119-133
Young, JW , Jentsch, DJ, Bussey, TB, Wallace, T, and Hutcheson, D (2013). Consideration of species differences in developing novel molecules as cognition enhancers. Neuroscience Biobehavioral Reviews