SCHIZOPHRENIA RESEARCH PROGRAM OF EXCELLENCE FUNDED BY THE IOWA NEUROSCIENCE INSTITUTE
The University of Iowa has a deep history of world class schizophrenia (SZ) research under the guidance of Dr. Nancy Andreasen. Andreasen coined the term “cognitive dysmetria” to describe deficits in cognitive timing and coordination which she found involved abnormal cerebellar neural activity (Andreasen et al., 1998). Multiple lines of evidence, including genetics, animal models and human brain imaging indicate that dysfunction of the cerebello-thalamo-cortical circuitry (CTCC) plays a critical role in physiological, cognitive, and clinical impairments (Cao et al., 2019; Ji et al., 2019; Parker et al., 2014).This tradition of excellence in SZ research continues as Andreasen’s mentees and Iowa faculty inspired by her original discoveries have established a working group that bridges cutting-edge brain imaging, electrophysiology, genetic and epigenetic research, circuit level mechanistic rodent studies, and neuromodulation-based therapy development. From this already strong foundation, we have built a Research Program of Excellence (RPOE) that integrates techniques, expertise, and the development of novel treatments collaboratively in the labs of 5 women investigator-led teams: Drs. Krystal Parker and Aislinn Williams in the College of Medicine (Psychiatry), Dr. Marie Gaine in the College of Pharmacy (PSET), and Drs. Bengi Baran and Amanda McCleery in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (Psychological and Brain Sciences). Our RPOE will synergize the strengths of these labs, allowing us to further develop a funded Nellie Ball Collaboration (Parker, Williams, Gaine), expand on an existing clinical trial in cerebellar stimulation (Parker), and an existing early psychosis clinical research service and patient registry (PIER Program, Baran & McCleery) to ignite novel translational projects that push the current boundaries of each individual lab. We hypothesize that genetic and epigenetic factors influence CTCC-related SZ abnormalities including sleep oscillations and cognitive deficits, and that targeted cerebellar transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) will alter these sleep and cognitive measures, as well as CTCC-related genetic and epigenetic expression profiles. The overarching goal of this RPOE is to conduct collaborative, highly translational research to elucidate cerebellar mechanisms that contribute to SZ pathophysiology via the CTCC and to further develop cerebellar-targeted therapies.
The cerebellum is receiving some good press! “What I’m hoping comes out of all of this is that people can’t get away with eliminating the cerebellum from the research that they’re doing,” Parker says. “It’s almost always doing something related to whatever people are studying.”
Welcome our new post doc Dr. Muller Ewald to the lab! Victoria is an outstanding electrophysiologist and addiction researcher who will head up EEG analyses for our human clinical trial.
Dr. Parker's Parker, Gaine, and Williams received a 5 year, $375,000 grant from the Nellie Ball Research Trust!
- We are extremely grateful to Nellie Ball for the opportunity to collaborate with these outstanding scientists(/friends) and advance our understanding of the therapeutic potential of the cerebellum in schizophrenia. This grant will also create a community engagement night to bring families, researchers, and community advocates together to foster relationships, widen our research focus, and ensure translation of our results back to patients with the goal of developing novel treatment options. See article here: Iowa Neuroscience Institute
Dr. Parker and Dr. Marcinkiewcz were selected as Associate Members of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology!
Parker received a Graduate College Post-Comprehensive Research Fellowship!
- Congratulations to Parker Abbott for receiving a Graduate College Post-Comprehensive Research Fellowship. This fellowship recognizes his distinguished academic achievements during his early graduate training and provides him with protected time to pursue his scholarly research activities.
New Manuscripts Published!
- Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
Parker Passed Comps!
- Parker Abbott, passed comps on July 8th! We're excited to continue characterizing the structural effects of cerebellar stimulation on the brain!
The Parker Lab at the Cerebellar Gordon Research Conference in Les Diablerts, Switzerland!
We celebrate the little things in the Parker Lab...!
Join us for a discussion on Cerebellar Stimulation in Neuropsychiatric Disease during the Mini Medical School Series
Our R01 has been receiving some great press!
National Institute of Mental Health
- Our R01 entitled "Cerebellar circuits, timing, and cognition" has been FUNDED! We are eager to begin working on these exciting projects.
Iowa Neuroscience Institute
- Parker and Freeman Labs received the INI Accelerator Award to study cognitive functions of the posterior cerebellum!
The Parker Lab was highlighted in The Official Newsletter of the Xavier Foundation!
Congratulations to Kyle Walsh!
- On being awarded the Robert G. Robinson Research Award in Psychiatry!
Congratulations to Abinav Jyotis!
Congrats to Juan!
- Congratulations to Juan Vasquez who received an award for outstanding poster upon completing his Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP) jointly in our lab and The Boes lab! His poster titled "Personalized Cerebro-Cerebellar Networks Identified Using 7T MRI" was presented at the symposium on July 27th and selected as one of the top 3 posters presented.
Welcome Parker Abbott!
- Parker Abbott has decided against Olympic curling and he will be affiliating with our lab!
Kelsey Passed Comps!
- The Parker's Lab's first graduate student, Kelsey Heslin, passed her comps on May 29th! She will go on to investigate the cognitive role of D1 receptor expressing neurons in the cerebellum!
Children's Miracle Network
- The Parker and Boes Labs received funding from the Children's Miracle Network to investigate the safety and efficacy of cerebellar stimulation in autism!
Nellie Ball Research Trust
- The Parker Lab received funding from the Nellie Ball Trust to examine the cerebellar contribution to comorbid depression in schizophrenia!
American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
- Krystal attended ACNP as a Travel Awardee and received great feedback on a poster.
The Ralph H. and Freda E. Ojemann lecture
- The department of Psychiatry sponsored The Ralph H. and Freda E. Ojemann lecture this year with a focus on the cerebellum. We are so thankful that Dr. Jeremy Schmahmann and Dr. Andre Machado came to discuss their groundbreaking discoveries on cerebellar function and the therapeutic potential of the cerebellum and that we were invited to participate.
Society for Neuroscience
- Kelsey Heslin presented a poster at the Society for Neuroscience Meeting in Washington DC and we had the pleasure of working the Iowa Neuroscience Institute's booth. The INI also hosted an incredible evening at Union Station.
1st Annual Conference of the Timing Research Forum
- We are fortunate to have been invited to present at the 1st Annual Conference of the Timing Research Forum in Strasbourg, France. Check out the Proceedings here! Looking forward to next year's conference in Mexico!
Visit to Frau Timmann's lab
- While in Europe, we visited Dagmar Timmann and her cerebellar lab in Essen, Germany. She is a long time role model to our lab and we look forward to collaborating!
- Congratulations to the Narayanan Lab on their exciting new manuscript at the Journal of Neuroscience detailing timing in frontostriatal circuits!
Cerebellar Gordon Research Conference!
- The Cerebellar Gordon Research Conference was outstanding this year. I presented work from a collaboration with Dr. Erik Carlson (University of Washington, Seattle) that developed at the 2015 Cerebellar GRC - Cerebellar D1-expressing neurons modulate the frontal cortex during timing tasks.
Welcome Kelsey Heslin to the lab!
- Kelsey is the first graduate student to join the lab and will be doing some exciting work with cerebellar-frontal interactions!
ACNP 2017 Travel Awardee
- We are immensely thankful to the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology for selecting Dr. Parker for a prestigious travel award for the 2017 Annual Meeting being held at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort in Palm Springs, California from December 3-7, 2017.
New Funding from the Iowa Neuroscience Institute!
- We are thankful to the Iowa Neuroscience Institute bipolar disorder and neuromodulation Research Programs of Excellence for funding our cerebellar work.
Welcome Jonah Heskje to the lab!
- Jonah graduated with honors in Neurobiology (Pre-med track) in May 2017. He is joining us from the Tranel lab where he worked more than 1,400 hours! He has also been recognized for over 1,000 volunteer hours at the University of Iowa Hospital. We're not sure if we pronounce every letter is his last name, but we have big plans for Jonah - Welcome!
Our Manuscript is out in Molecular Psychiatry and has been receiving some great press!
- Delta-frequency stimulation of cerebellar projections can compensate for schizophrenia-related medial frontal dysfunction
Congratulations to Kyle Walsh on acceptance to medical school at Iowa!
- He will be joining the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine August 2017 entering class. Kyle has been working in the lab for the last year as part of The Iowa Post-Baccalaureate Research Internship Program.
- Our manuscript Delta-frequency stimulation of cerebellar projections can compensate for schizophrenia-related medial frontal dysfunction was accepted at Molecular Psychiatry!
We are moving in!
- The Parker lab is located in the Iowa Neuroscience Institute located on the 2nd floor of PBDB!