Psychiatric Neuroscience: Psychopharmacology
Full course description
The main aim of this course is to gain insights into the molecular neurobiology of psychiatric disorders and how these phenotypes can be studied in animal models (i.e. the principle of translation). The first part of this course focuses on the psychobiology of stress, emotions and associated disorders such as depression and anxiety disorders. Chronic and/or excessive stress may lead to the development of psychiatric conditions such as depression and anxiety, diseases in which a patient shows inadequate coping associated with a severe disruption of daily life. A major challenge in research on stress and related disorders is to unravel the molecular basis of persistent changes in behaviour that explain the symptoms of mental illness and their (partial) reversal during treatment. A major focus during the course is on the limbic system, the sympathetic nervous system and the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis as key players of emotional regulation in health and disease. Furthermore, the roles of different neurotransmitter systems such as the serotonergic system will be discussed in depth. The second part of the course deals with the neurobiology of major psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. In particular, this course addresses the molecular processes that influence psychosis-related cognitive domains from a translational point of view. Students will also study the mechanisms by which adverse environmental exposures de-regulate key brain structures that influence the mesocorticolimbic dopaminergic system - a core phenomenon in psychosis pathophysiology.
Students will be able to understand:
psychobiology of stress, neurobiology of psychiatric disorders, anxiety, anxiety disorders, panic disorder, major depression, psychosis, schizophrenia, molecular psychiatry, gene-environment (GxE) interactions, environmental exposure, functional neuroanatomy, (neuro)psychiatric (endo)phenotypes, animal models for psychiatric disorders, translational neuropsychiatry, the pathophysiology of mental disorders, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, mesocorticolimbic system.