Overview of Current Research


The department has a strong history of extramural funding, especially in the areas of schizophrenia, depression, brain stimulation, and suicide.  We have received about $2,000,000 in direct costs support for our extramural research programs since fiscal year 2013, with the strongest support coming from the NIMH.

Active Extramural Grants in the Department, by topic:

Schizophrenia

A phase 3 study to evaluate weight gain of ALKS 3831 compared to Olanzapine in adults with schizophrenia
     Alermes, Inc
     PI: Joseph McEvoy, M.D.

A phase 2, multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to assess the efficacy, safety and tolerability of AVP-786 (deuterated [d6] dextromethorphan hydrobromide [d6-DM]/duinidine sulfate [Q]) as an adjunctive treatment for patients with residual schizophrenia.
     Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
     PI: Joseph McEvoy, M.D.

A randomized controlled trial of adjunctive tocilizumab in schizophrenia.
     NARSAD Independent Investigator Grant
     PI: Brian Miller, M.D., Ph.D., MPH

A randomized controlled trial of adjunctive siltuximab in schizophrenia.
     Stanley Medical Research Institute
     PI: Brian Miller, M.D., Ph.D., MPH

Insomnia, Autonomic Dysfunction, and Suicidal Ideation in Schizophrenia
      Augusta University Pilot Study Research Program
      PI: Brian Miller, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.

A phase II randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to evaluate the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of orally administered BI 409306 during a 52-week treatment period as an early intervention in patients with attenuated psychosis syndrome.
     Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
     PI: Joseph McEvoy, M.D.

Improving cognition via exercise in schizophrenia
     National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
     PI: Joseph McEvoy, M.D.

Metformin and Lorcaserin for weight loss in people with schizophrenia
     National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
     PI: Joseph McEvoy, M.D.

A phase II, 12-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel study to evaluate efficacy, safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetics of the three dose levels of TAK-831 in adjunctive treatment of adult patients with negative symptoms of schizophrenia
     Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
     PI: Joseph McEvoy, M.D.

Phase II, A randomized, double-blind, multiple-dose, placebo-controlled study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of BIIB104 in subjects with cognitive impairment associated with schizophrenia
     Biogen MA, Inc.
     PI: Joseph McEvoy, M.D.


Mood Disorders, Suicide and Sleep


Investigation of the Relationship between suicidal ideation and dysfunctional beliefs about sleep.
     PI: W. Vaughn McCall, M.D.

PCORI/TRD-1511-3327
1.2 calendar months
Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI)
Augumentation versus Switch: Comparative Research Trial for Antidepressant Incomplete and Non-responders with Treatment Resistant Depression (ASCERTAIN-TRD)
The goal of this randomized clinical trial is to compare the antidepressant effectiveness of switching treatment resistant depressed patients to either a seratonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, versus add-on aripiprazole, versus rTMS
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT029772299
      PI: W. Vaughn McCall, M.D.

Pilot studies of pupillometry in suicidal and non-suicidal patients
     Augusta University
     PI: W. Vaughn McCall, M.D.
     Co-investigator: Nagy Youssef, M.D.

Reducing suicide ideation through insomnia treatment (REST-IT)
     NIH/NIMH
     PI: W. Vaughn McCall, M.D.
     Co-investigator: Nagy Youssef, M.D.

Reducing suicidal ideation through treatment of nightmares - PTSD (REST-ON)
     American Foundation of Suicide Prevention
     PI: W. Vaughn McCall, M.D.
     Co-investigator: Nagy Youssef, M.D.


Brain stimulation: ECT and rTMS

A randomized double-blind feasibility study comparing mood and cognitive outcomes for depressed patients treated with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) combined with Lumosity cognitive exercises vs. computer game control task.
     PI: Peter B. Rosenquist, M.D.

The use of paired pulse TMS measures to assess drug effects on Neuronal Excitability in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.
     PI: Peter B. Rosenquist, M.D.

Focal Electrically-Administered Seizure Therapy (FEAST): A preliminary study.
     MECTA Corporation
     PI: Peter B. Rosenquist, M.D. and W. Vaughn McCall, M.D.

Low pulse amplitude focal ECT for treatment-resistant depression
     ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02583490
     PI: Nagy Youssef, M.D.

Focal Electrically-Administered Seizure Therapy (FEAST) (2-site study)
     Mecta Corporation (ClinicalTrials.gov   Identifier: NCT02535572)
     PI: W. Vaughn McCall, M.D.
     Co-investigator: Nagy Youssef, M.D.

Magnetic seizure therapy compared to ECT in major depressive disorder: A medication-free clinical controlled trial
     Tanta University, Egypt
     Consultant/Co-mentor: Nagy Youssef, M.D.

Augmentation versus Switch: Comparative effectiveness research trial for antidepressant incomplete and non-responders with treatment resistant depression (ASCERTAIN-TRD)
     Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCOI)
     ClinicalTrials.gov (Identifier: NCT02977299)
     PI: W. Vaughn McCall, M.D.
     Co-investigator: Peter Rosenquist, M.D.

Training Psychiatrists, Nurse Practitioners, and Psychologist to Work Collaboratively to Address Rural Behavioral Health Disparities
     Health Resources and Services Administration
     Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training Program
     PI: Jean Pawl
     Coinvestigator and Course Director: Peter Rosenquist, M.D.


Other

Novel statistical approaches to analyzing actigraphy data.
     PI: W. Vaughn McCall, M.D.

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, fixed dose study of SD-809 (deutetrabenazine) for treatment of moderate to severe tardive dyskinesia.
     Auspex Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
     PI: Joseph McEvoy, M.D.

An open label, long-term safety study of SD-809 (deutetrabenazine) for treatment of moderate to severe tardive dyskinesia.
     Auspex Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
     PI: Joseph McEvoy, M.D.

Assessment and outcomes monitoring in psychiatric clinical practice.
     PI: Peter B. Rosenquist, M.D. 

Screening for clozapine-induced myocarditis-A natrualistic observation study.
     PI: Sandarsh Surya, MBBS and Joseph McEvoy, M.D.

A study of inner conflict and psychological well-being in Veterans with PTSD symptoms
     ABRC Foundation
     PI: Nagy Youssef, M.D.

Assessing medical students knowledge in diagnosis and initial treatment of depression
     MCG Academic Affairs
     PI: Nagy Youssef, M.D.

Role of skeletal muscle health on poor lifestyle related type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk
     NIH/NIDDK
     Multiple educational grant from Medical Scholar Program for mentorship/education
     Consultant: Nagy Youssef, M.D.

Double-blind, Placebo-controlled, Phase 2 trial to test efficacy and safety of AV-1-1 (L-4-chlorokynurenine) as adjunct to current antidepressant therapy in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) with an inadequate response to current antidepressants
     VistaGen Therapeutics, Inc.
     PI: W. Vaughn McCall, M.D.
     Co-investigator: Nagy Youssef, M.D.

The effects of a ketogenic diet in veterans with PTSD and TBI
     Pilot Study Research Program, Augusta University
     Co-Investigator: Nagy Youssef, M.D.

GRISAT Educational Grant (GRU Interprofessional Substance Abuse Training for Health Professions (GRISAT)
     SAMHSA
     PI: W. Vaughn McCall, M.D.
     Co-investigator: Nagy Youssef, M.D.

A six-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, suvorexant augmentation study of antidepressant treatment of major depressive disorder with residual insomnia
     Merck & Co., Inc/Institute for Advanvced Medical Research
     PI: W. Vaughn McCall, M.D.
     Co-investigator: Nagy Youssef, M.D.

A phase IV, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized withdrawal study to evaluate the persistence of effect and safety of Valbenazine for the treatment of Tardive Dyskinesia
     Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc.
     PI: Joseph McEvoy, M.D.