Professor, Center for Psychiatric Neuroscience, Lausanne University HospitalBiography
Following a career in basic research in chemistry, molecular biology and neurobiology (glutatmate and nitric oxide transmission, neuro Research Institute (Zurich University), I moved towards "bench to bed" research at the Center for Psychiatric Neuroscience (Department of Psychiatry, Lausanne University Hospital). I set up a translational research program aimed at a better understanding of the causes and mechanisms leading to schizophrenia phenotypes in order to develop markers for early diagnosis, new drug targets as well as preventive and therapeutic measures. Building on an innovative hypothesis, I could demonstrate that oxidative stress/redox dysregulation induced, among others, by glutathione (GSH) deficit, may represent a "hub" on which both genetic and environmental risk factors converge during neurodevelopment, leading to the impairment of neural connectivity and synchronization, and to cognitive deficits as observed in patients. These mechanisms have been comprehensively documented in experimental models. Based on these relevant neurobiological data, a precursor of GSH, N administered to chronic patients. This double blind, placebo controlled add trial with NAC showed a net improvement potentials (mismatch negativity), neural synchronization, and produced no side effects. These promising results led a new clinical trial with young patients during their first psychotic episode, paving the way for risk subjects. In addition to my research activities, I serve as director of the Unit of Research in Schizophrenia and director of the Center for Psychiatric Neuroscience, where we also work on professional education and cure of major psychiatric disorders.