Psychiatry receives grant establishing Conte Center to study molecular and cellular mood mechanisms

mood motivation.

Working with Nestler in the Conte Center will be a team of UT Southwestern scientists from psychiatry as well as other departments involved in molecular and cellular research:

  • Dr. David Self, associate professor of psychiatry, is directing efforts to develop a broad battery of behavioral tests for depression-like symptoms in rats and mice.
  • Dr. Luis Parada, director of the Center for Developmental Biology and the Kent Waldrep Center for Basic Research on Nerve Growth and Regeneration, is investigating the role of tissue nutrition and metabolism in the regulation of mood and motivation.
  • Dr. Masashi Yanagisawa, professor of molecular genetics, is conducting research into the role of appetitive peptides in mood and motivation. The work concentrates on three peptides melanocortin (a-MHS), orexin (hypocretin) and melamin-concentrating hormone (MCH) known to control feeding behavior.
  • Drs. Steven McKnight and Joseph Garcia, chairman of biochemistry and assistant professor of internal medicine, respectively, are working on the role certain genes play in circadian variations involving mood, psychomotor activity and mental states often seen in depressed patients.
  • Dr. Tom Wilkie, associate professor of pharmacology, is focusing on the ability of regulators of G protein signaling (RGS) proteins in regulating mood and motivation.

Scientists from Harvard University and Yale University will collaborate on some of the projects.


Contact: Ann Harrell
UT Southwestern Medical Center

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