William P. and Henry B. Test Professor
Stephan Heckers, M.D.
Stephan Heckers, M.D.
Chair, Department of Psychiatry
Scientific Council Member (Joined 2005)
1998, 1991 Young Investigator Grant
To explore the neural basis of psychiatric disorders, Dr. Heckers and his group combine neuroimaging experiments of brain structure and function in psychotic patients with postmortem studies of the cellular and molecular basis of psychosis. Of particular interest are the mechanisms of cognitive deficits and psychotic symptoms in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Using functional neuroimaging, Dr. Heckers has demonstrated that impaired recruitment of the hippocampus is related to the decreased ability of patients with schizophrenia to retrieve previously learned information. Complementary studies of postmortem hippocampal specimens have shown decreased neuron number and gene expression for subsets of interneurons in both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Before joining Vanderbilt University, Dr. Heckers taught at Harvard Medical School and served as director of the Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder Program at McLean Hospital.
Learn More About the Foundation
The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation is a global nonprofit organization focused on improving the understanding, prevention and treatment of psychiatric and mental illnesses.
Beginning in 1987, the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation was providing seed money to neuroscientists to invest in “out of the box” research that the government and other sources were unwilling to fund. Today, Brain & Behavior Research Foundation is still the leading, private philanthropy in the world in this space.
Meet the people who make up the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation. Our staff of experts, passionate Board of Directors, and Scientific Council which includes Nobel prize winners and chairs of psychiatric departments around the world.
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