Western Washington UniversityCommunications and Marketing
DATE: June 3, 2010 3:59:50 PM PDT
WWU's Janet Finlay Receives $372,735 Grant for Schizophrenia Research

Contact: Janet Finlay, associate professor of Behavioral Neuroscience, Western Washington University’s Psychology Department, (360) 650-6717; Janet.Finlay@wwu.edu

BELLINGHAM Western Washington University Associate Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience Janet Finlay has been awarded $372,735 from the National Institutes of Health to support her research into the neurobiology of schizophrenia.   

Schizophrenia is a psychiatric illness associated with delusions, hallucinations, cognitive deficits, and poor social functioning. Current treatments for the disease include antipsychotic medications; however, cognitive deficits caused by schizophrenia are difficult to treat.

Finlay’s research will explore whether the N-methyl-D-asparatate receptor (NMDAR), a protein involved in communications between neurons, is responsible for the cognitive impairments caused by schizophrenia.

“Schizophrenia is a disorder with multiple contributing factors,” Finlay said. “The focus of this grant will be on the [NMDAR], which has been documented as exhibiting structural abnormalities in some patients diagnosed with schizophrenia.”

In addition to research supplies, Finlay’s grant will provide funding for undergraduate student-research assistantships and student travel to research-related meetings.

“The grant is designed to enhance opportunities for Western’s undergrad Behavioral Neuroscience students to gain neuroscience research experience,” Finlay said. “Many of our graduates are successful in securing biomedical research positions and postgraduate training opportunities because they have extensive research experience when they graduate.”

Finlay began her faculty position at WWU in 1999, after having spent 10 years as a member of a schizophrenia research center at the University of Pittsburgh. She is the director of the Behavioral Neuroscience Program at WWU and has been a driving force in increasing undergraduate neuroscience training and research at Western.

For more information, contact Finlay at (360) 650-6717 or Janet.Finlay@wwu.edu.

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