Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Laboratory of Neuropsychopharmacology
Mike Owens researches the cellular and molecular bases of complex psychiatric diseases. These include depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia with the ultimate goal of development of novel therapeutics and/or increasing the efficacy of current treatments. To address these issues, we use a variety of molecular, cellular, pharmacological, behavioral and imaging techniques in laboratory animals and humans.
Current research includes: 1) continued validation of the CRF (corticotropin-releasing factor) receptor as a rational, novel target for antidepressant and/or antianxiety medication development, 2) creation and characterization of a humanized serotonin transporter (SERT) mouse to study the physiological importance of a recently discovered allosteric site on the SERT that may alter antidepressant function and/or represent a target for novel antidepressant development, 3) clinically-relevant design of pharmacotherapy studies in laboratory animals, 4) modeling of in utero medication exposure and the response of the transcriptome and epigenome in offspring, 5) in vitro receptor and transporter characterization of novel radiotracers for PET imaging, and 6) development of methodologies to easily assess transporter occupancy of antidepressant medications in clinical populations with the goal of quickly and easily identifying patients who are non-responders due to inadequate dosing.