Mission of the Division of Schizophrenia Research
The mission of the Division of Schizophrenia Research is to generate and utilize research-data on the causes, defining characteristics, and treatments of schizophrenia in the service of developing improved methods of assessment and treatment to improve the lives of people with this condition.
The Division of Schizophrenia Research
The Division of Schizophrenia Research (DSR) was established in 2006 as a collaborative effort between UMDNJ-University Behavioral HealthCare and the UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Department of Psychiatry. As noted in the mission statement on this page, the goal in establishing this Division was to establish an infrastructure for schizophrenia research at UMDNJ, from within which basic and applied studies could be conducted. Since its establishment, Division faculty and fellows have received over 7 million dollars in grant support, primarily from the National Institute of Mental Health, but also from NARSAD, the Stanley Medical Research Institute, the American Psychological Foundation, Janssen Pharmaceutica, and Astra-Zeneca. These grants have covered a range of topics, including: using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine the nature of visual, memory, and cognitive control processing impairments in schizophrenia; comparison of different methods of cognitive assessment; examining the longitudinal course of perceptual and cognitive impairments and the extent to which they predict relapse and chronicity compared to standard clinical assessments; effectiveness trials of several forms of cognitive remediation in adults and children with schizophrenia; effectiveness of medications (e.g., pregnenolone; Consta) for enhancing cognitive functioning; and effectiveness trials of a form of cognitive behavior therapy (in both individual and group formats) for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in people with either a psychotic disorder or a mood disorder. Division faculty and staff have also received funding from the New Jersey Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) to develop evidence-based practices at state hospitals in New Jersey. In addition, Division faculty, students, and staff have help train UBHC staff on a variety of assessment and intervention methods, including social skills training and cognitive remediation.
The DSR is currently planning its first Schizophrenia Conference, to be held March 8, 2013. This will cover advances in the treatment of schizophrenia, and how these have been informed by recent developments in the cognitive neuroscience of the disorder. Topics to be covered will include interventions for comorbid substance abuse, smoking, cognitive impairment, PTSD, delusions and paranoia, and medical complications, as well as treatment of young people at high-risk for the disorder.