University of Northern Colorado Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences Mark Thomas recently earned a $60,000 grant for his research on the relationship between schizophrenia and levels of dopamine, which regulate behavior and cognitive functions in the brain.
Thomas was one of 214 researchers, out of more than 1,000 worldwide who applied, who received funding from The Brain and Behavior Research Fund of the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression. The grant will help Thomas test whether dopamine regulates working memory, which is disrupted in schizophrenia, by altering rhythms of neurons in the prefrontal cortex of the brain.
Determining the role of dopamine should lead to more effective antipsychotic medications and help eliminate some of the adverse side effects of current medications.
Thomas previously earned grant funding for his research from the National Institutes of Health and his articles on dopamine, brain function and Parkinson's disease have been published widely. At UNC, he teaches human anatomy, physiology and neurobiology.