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Department News

VCU scientists are researching drugs that could improve brain function in people with schizophrenia

Ananda Pandurangi, M.D.

Virginia Commonwealth University researchers are testing if drugs known as HDAC inhibitors improve cognition in patients with schizophrenia who have been treated with the antipsychotic drug clozapine.

Clozapine, which has been shown to be the most effective available antipsychotic for hallucinations and delusion treatment, may impair memory and attention, said Ananda Pandurangi, M.D., medical director and chair of inpatient psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry at VCU School of Medicine. Pandurangi is an investigator on the clinical trial.

 
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Dr. Michael Neale honored with Distinguished Scholarship Award



Dr. Michael Neale, Professor, Dr. Michael Rao, President,
Dr. Peter Buckley, School of Medicine Dean,
on the occasion of the presentation of the
Distinguished Scholarship Award to Dr. Neale, 2017.

Michael C. Neale, Ph.D., a professor of psychiatry in the School of Medicine, received the Distinguished Scholarship Award. He has dedicated his research to making connections between how genetic, environmental and behavioral factors interact and contribute to illnesses such as substance abuse and psychiatric disorders.

Neale created an open-source computer program widely used by researchers in modeling data to determine whether genetic variants are linked to outcome variables. The program has been cited more than 3,000 times in scientific literature.

“At any point in history, it [has been] a great privilege to work as an independent scientist tackling major health and social problems facing our species and planet,” he said. “I hope these tools will be further developed by future generations of researchers.”

 
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VCU Health outpatient clinic treats addiction with compassion and medication


Mishka Terplan, M.D. and Cathy Wilson talk
inside the MOTIVATE Clinic.

Cathy Wilson greets the diverse group of patients she sees every week with the same line: “If it were easy, I’d tell you to go home and stop using. But it’s not that easy and that’s why we’re here to help you.”

Wilson delivers that message sternly, yet lovingly. She is a registered nurse at the VCU Health Multidisciplinary Outpatient Intensive Addiction Treatment Clinic, designed to treat people struggling with addiction. Since opening in Richmond’s Jackson Ward neighborhood April 3, the MOTIVATE Clinic has treated between 60 and 80 patients. Most of them are referred from Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center after receiving some sort of treatment for drug addiction or even an overdose. As an established presence minutes from the hospital, the MOTIVATE Clinic provides medical staff with a specific place to send substance abusers after they’re treated emergently at the hospital.

 
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New School of Medicine dean says school is ‘well poised’ for the future


Peter Buckley, M.D.

Buckley’s life journey brought him to the United States for a position at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio, where he rose through the ranks to become professor and vice chair of the psychiatry department. Additionally, he served as medical director for Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare system and its three state inpatient psychiatric facilities in Cleveland and Toledo. Under Buckley’s leadership, the hospital became the best-rated psychiatric hospital in Ohio and Joint Commission-accredited with commendation and 11 best practices for its quality.

 
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Peter Buckley named dean of VCU School of Medicine and VCU Health executive VP for medical affairs


Peter F. Buckley, M.D.

A psychiatrist and expert in schizophrenia, Buckley also is a professor of psychiatry, pharmacology and radiology at MCG.

Buckley has extensive experience in academic medicine and hospital administration. At MCG, he served 10 years as chair of the Department of Psychiatry prior to being named dean. He also served two years as interim CEO of the academic medical center and physician practice plan. Before his 16-year tenure at MCG, he was professor and vice chair of the psychiatry department at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. He also was medical director of Western Reserve Psychiatric Hospital, a role that over time expanded to include serving as medical director for Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare System and its three state inpatient psychiatric facilities in Cleveland and Toledo, Ohio. Previously, Buckley was co-director of the statewide community service product line for the Ohio Department of Mental Health

 
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