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Bertha K. Madras , PhD

Professor of Psychobiology in the Department of Psychiatry
Chair, Division of Neurochemistry

Dr. Madras and her colleagues in the Division of Neurochemistry investigate the biology of neuropsychiatric disorders. Complementary research develops novel imaging strategies to view the implicated molecular substrates in living brain and devises novel drug therapies to provide symptomatic relief.

Cocaine addiction: Research is designed to clarify the neurobiological substrates of cocaine in the brain, neuroadaptive changes that may contribute to addiction or relapse and to develop medications for cocaine addiction. Molecular approaches are coordinated with behavioral and PET imaging procedures conducted in nonhuman primates.

Parkinson's disease. In view of the limitations of current therapies to treat Parkinson's disease, we design and assess novel medications to treat Parkinson's disease and novel imaging agents to identify populations that may benefit from neuroprotective and neuroregenerative interventions. Gene array analysis is applied to expose potential therapeutic targets identified as genes initiating or sustaining spontaneous regeneration in a nonhuman primate model of Parkinson's disease.

ADHD. The pathophysiology of ADHD is poorly understood and anti-hyperactivity medications are prescribed in the absence of biological criteria. A coordinated research program is designed to investigate the molecular targets of anti-hyperactivity medications and develop novel compounds to treat ADHD.

Nonhuman primate genotyping. Single nucleotide polymorphisms and other variants of genes encoding psychoactive drug targets have been identified in human gene sequences. Their emerging relevance to neuropsychiatric disease states, differing susceptibilities to drug addiction and drug responsiveness, encouraged the search for analogous gene sequences in nonhuman primates, with a view to clarifying their functional relevance and potential as disease models.

Fischman AJ, Bonab AA, Babich JW, Palmer P, Alpert NM, Elmaleh DR, Barrow SA, Graham W, Meltzer PC, Hanson RH, Madras BK. Rapid detection of Parkinson's disease with altropane, a SPECT ligand. Synapse, 29:128-141, 1998.

Dougherty, DD, Bonab AA, Spencer TJ, Rauch SL, Madras, BK, Fischman AJ. Dopamine transporter density is patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Lancet, 354:2132-2133, 1999.

Goulet M, and Madras BK. D1 dopamine agonists are more effective in advanced than in mild Parkinsonism in MPTP-treated monkeys. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther., 292:714-724, 2000.

Miller GM, De La Garza, R. Novak MA, Madras BK. Single nucleotide polymorphisms distinguish multiple dopamine transporter alleles in primates; implications for association with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other neuropsychiatric disorders. Mol. Psychiat., 6: 50-58, 2001.

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