The Conte Center

The central goal of the Conte Center for Neuroscience Research is to define the structural abnormalities in the brain that are related to schizophrenia and find the cause of these abnormalities (i.e., genetic versus non-genetic). Research focuses on studying animal models to find changes on a cellular level and establishing the links between these abnormalities and cognitive symptoms of the disease.

Our key objectives:

  • To establish a multi-institutional collaboration among scientists with special expertise in psychiatry, neurobiology, neuroimaging and biomedical engineering

  • To further develop computer software to help define the neurobiology of neuropsychiatric disorders

  • To test specific scientific questions and to generate new questions related to the causes and consequences of neuroanatomical abnormalities in people with schizophrenia

  • To further define the early development of schizophrenia. In the context of five related projects supported by three Conte Center cores, we propose to test the overarching hypothesis that genetic factors lead to a cascade of neurodevelopment irregularities that later show up as abnormalities of brain structure, thinking, and psychopathology in people with schizophrenia.

Several themes carry across our work. The first theme is embedding concepts of brain function within a precise neuroanatomical framework. New tools for high-dimensional brain mapping provide this framework. A second theme is the focus on the same distributed network of brain structures. Thirdly, common cognitive concepts and paradigms are used across studies of human and non-human primate subjects.

Washington University School of Medicine