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

A potential state and relapse predictive marker in schizophrenia.
     National Institute of Mental Health
     PI: Brian Miller, M.D., Ph.D., MPH

BDNF/TrkB: a possible therapeutic target for schizophrenia.
      National Institute of Mental Health
      PI: Anilkumar Pillai, Ph.D

Paliperidone, mimicking paliperidone palmitate administration on brain BDNF: implications for relapse and neuroplasticity in schizophrenia.
     Ortho Mc-Neil Janssen Pharma
     PI: Anilkumar Pillai, Ph.D

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.

Rest-IT: Reducing suicidal ideation through treatment of insomnia.
     National Institute of Mental Health
     PI: W. Vaughn McCall, M.D.

Rest-IT: Reducing suicidal Ideation through treatment of nightmares.
     The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
     PI: W. Vaughn McCall, M.D.

Regulation of TrkB signaling by 5-HT: role of transglutaminase 2

     National Institute of Mental Health
     PI: Anilkumar Pillai, Ph.D

Glucocorticoid-induced TrkB receptor regulation by ubiquitination

     National Institute of Mental Health
     PI: Anilkumar Pillai, Ph.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.


Bipolar Disorder
5/5 Bipolar-Schizophrenia Network for intermediate phenotypes
     National Institute of Mental Health
     PI: Peter F. Buckley, M.D., Dean, Medical College of Georgia


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: Nagy Youseff, 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.

Georgia Recovery-Based Educational Approach to Treatment Project (Project GREAT)
     Internally, and submitted to HRSA
     PI: P. Alex Mabe, M.D.
     Consultant: 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.