The area of specialty of my research program is the epidemiology of neurodevelopmental etiologies of schizophrenia, autism, and bipolar disorder. The focus of the work is on biomarker-based in utero and early childhood exposures that are prospectively documented in large population birth cohorts followed up for these disorders. These samples include a Finnish national birth cohort and the Child Health and Development Study. These studies have yielded novel associations between prenatal exposures including infection, immune dysfunction, and micronutrient deficiencies and schizophrenia among offspring. More recently, we have extended this work to include autism and bipolar disorder, demonstrating associations between maternal inflammatory biomarkers and autism, and between maternal influenza and bipolar disorder in offspring. Presently, we are broadening the array of risk factors to include autoantibodies, neurotoxins, hormones, and other obstetric events. Moreover, we have demonstrated associations between prenatal exposures and neuroanatomic and neuropsychological brain abnormalities in schizophrenia. In addition, we are investigating relationships between early developmental exposures and deviations in child development and premorbid neuropsychological function. My research group is also examining the relationship between use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors during pregnancy and neuropsychiatric outcomes in childhood and adolescence. Furthermore, I am collaborating on translational studies of maternal immune activation and schizophrenia, with a focus on GABAergic cortical interneurons and psychopharmacological treatment trials of cytokine antagonists in schizophrenia.
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