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Boosting brain rhythms as a new therapy for schizophrenia

Description 
Schizophrenia is a complex neuropsychiatric condition with a broad symptom profile, and current treatments are inadequate in many patients. In addition to behavioural and cognitive disturbances, patients also exhibit a range of neurophysiological brain abnormalities. In particular, high frequency brain rhythms in the gamma frequency band appear disrupted. Since these rhythms are important for higher order cognitive processes, improving this disruption may lead to amelioration of symptoms. This project aims to develop a new therapy to overcome deficits in gamma frequency rhythms using an animal modelling approach. We will use the poly I:C model to replicate an early life in utero infection, which is a strong risk factor for schizophrenia. This results in a range of behavioural, molecular and electrophysiological deficits in adult rodents, which are relevant to schizophrenia symptoms. The treatment to be tested involves repetitive sensory stimulation using light flashes and sound, which generates gamma rhythms in the brain. This treatment is therefore designed to overcome the existing electrophysiological abnormalities in brain rhythms. We anticipate this treatment will improve behavioural, molecular and electrophysiological deficits in the animal model, and pave the way for future clinical trials.
Essential criteria: 
Minimum entry requirements can be found here: https://www.monash.edu/admissions/entry-requirements/minimum
Keywords 
new treatment, schizophrenia, animal model, electrophysiology, behaviour, cognition
School 
Central Clinical School » Neuroscience
Available options 
PhD/Doctorate
Masters by research
Masters by coursework
Honours
BMedSc(Hons)
Time commitment 
Full-time
Top-up scholarship funding available 
No
Physical location 
Alfred Centre, The Alfred Hospital
Co-supervisors 
Dr 
Rachel Hill

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