Christoph Kellendonk, Ph.D.

Christoph Kellendonk, Ph.D.
Christoph Kellendonk, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Surgeons

Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons

Columbia University Irving Medical Center / New York State Psychiatric Institute

2019 Maltz Prize for Innovative and Promising Schizophrenia Research

2008, 2002 Young Investigator Grants

Dr. Christoph Kellendonk received his Ph.D. from the University of Heidelberg, Germany. For his post-doctoral studies he joined the laboratory of Dr. Eric Kandel, where he became interested in studying how brain circuitry regulates behaviors relevant for psychiatric disorders.

Dr. Kellendonk’s laboratory uses mouse genetic tools to better understand the biology that underlies cognitive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia. While the positive symptoms—which include disordered thought processes, hallucinations and delusions— are the most characteristic feature of the disorder, they are difficult to model in the mouse. In contrast, cognitive and negative symptoms of the disorder—including deficits in working memory and motivation—have behavioral readouts in mice that are relatable to humans. Cognitive and negative symptoms are poorly understood and difficult to treat, and their severity is a strong predictor of the long-term prognosis of patients with schizophrenia.

Dr. Kellendonk’s laboratory takes observations made in patients with schizophrenia (e.g., from brain imaging or epidemiological studies) and then seeks to model these observations as closely as possible in the mouse. One important finding from the laboratory is that chronic antipsychotic medication in the adult mouse leads to specific changes in the anatomy and functional balance of basal ganglia circuitry that is affected in schizophrenia.

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