Schmack lab Neural Circuits and Immunity in Psychosis Laboratory

We study the biological mechanisms underlying psychosis. Our goal is to find new ways to treat brain disorders such as schizophrenia. 

Illustration with a human head and a mouse head with the words 'Psychosis Collective' above.

Psychosis is characterised by disturbances of perception and thought. These are subjective phenomena and have traditionally been difficult to study biologically. Our recent work has established a new approach that combines behavioural observations and computational models to measure psychosis-like phenomena in humans and mice.

We use this cross-species approach to study how neural and immune processes give rise to psychosis. In particular, we focus on neural signalling in the striatum, a brain region that is involved in psychosis, but its role in perception and thought is not well-understood. We also study the contributions of immune signals in the blood and brain-surrounding fluid, as these could explain how known genetic and environmental risk factors lead to psychosis.

By studying psychosis, we hope to identify new biological targets for the treatment of schizophrenia, and to understand how the brain generates perceptions and thoughts.