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Mental Illness and Addiction

Kathryn Gill, PhD
Gabriella Gobbi, MD, PhD

The Mental Illness and Addiction Axis research team is composed of scientists whose interests range from neurobiology to social psychiatry. Translational neuroscience of mental disorders is one of the key approaches of this Axis. The laboratory facilities offer a wide array of complementary state-of-the-art behavioural, molecular, and neurophysiological tools to define specific proof-of-concept hypotheses of pathophysiology and treatments.
Unraveling pathophysiology to design novel therapeutics is a priority for modern psychiatric research and a key goal of this research axis. The focus of this group is to investigate the behavioural and brain correlates of neurotransmitter dysfunction using functional neuroimaging techniques, as well as genetic dissection and pharmacological manipulations. 
The addiction program combines the strengths of a well-established hospital-based treatment unit with that of an emerging translational neuroscience program. The research program covers many important concerns: behavioural neuroscience and neurophysiology, pharmacology, genetic risks for developing addiction, and hospital and community-based treatment programs in addiction. Mood disorder studies involve the research of novel antidepressant treatments, from compounds that act on the cannabinoid systems, to high frequency deep brain or vagus nerve stimulation in patients with treatment-refractory depression.
Research on autism within the axis is world renowned, and involves the identification of environmental risk factors, secular trends in incidence, and efficacy of psychosocial and psychopharmacological interventions. The autism research program is supported by a strong clinical program recognized as a major tertiary and quaternary center for the province of Quebec. Research on Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) involves evaluating the efficacy of novel interventions combining psychopharmacology and psychotherapeutical approaches across age groups. Pharmacogenetic studies are also being pursued to better understand the response to drug treatment in this disorde