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Researchers on the Rise Lecture February 10, 2017, 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm Starzl Biomedical Science Tower, Room S120

Mass Spectrometry Investigations of Synaptic Protein Networks in Schizophrenia
 Matthew MacDonald, PhD
 Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
 University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine





Dr. MacDonald earned his PhD in Pharmacology in 2012 at the University of Pennsylvania and obtained postdoctoral training in Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh with Drs. Robert Sweet and Nathan Yates. In 2015 Dr. MacDonald was appointed to the Department of Psychiatry, where he is developing novel mass spectrometry approaches to study synaptic pathologies in schizophrenia and other human neuropsychiatric diseases. 

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this lecture, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the challenges inherent in studying synaptic protein networks in human brain tissue. 
  2. Summarize data implicating glutamatergic signaling in schizophrenia pathology.
  3. Understand the different Mass Spectrometry approaches to protein quantification  


Sleep Spindle Deficits in Schizophrenia. When Do They Start?
 Fabio Ferrarelli, MD, PhD
 Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
 University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine






Dr. Ferrarelli earned his MD and PhD in psychiatry at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome, Italy. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and while completing his residency at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Pittsburgh, Dr. Ferrarelli has been utilizing a combination of neuroimaging techniques, including  high density (hd)-EEG, functional MRI, and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) to better understand the neurobiology of schizophrenia and other major psychotic disorders. Some of this work has led to the identification of sleep spindle deficits in schizophrenia patients, a finding recently replicated by several research groups.  In July of 2016 Dr. Ferrarelli joined the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine as an assistant professor of psychiatry, and he intends to extend those lines of research to children and adolescents at high risk for psychosis, with the ultimate goal of developing biologically informed early detection and treatment interventions. 

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this lecture, participants will be able to: 

  1. Recognize the importance of sleep and sleep disturbances in psychiatric disorders, and especially schizophrenia.
  2. Identify the relevance of sleep spindle deficits in patients with schizophrenia, including the implication of spindle-related neuronal circuits in the neurobiology of this disorder.
  3. Understand the importance of an early detection of spindle abnormalities at illness onset and/or in individuals at clinical high risk for psychosis.  

Continuing Education Credit:  The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.  The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine designates this educational activity for a maximum of 1.5 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM.  Each physician should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.  Other health care professionals are awarded .15 continuing education units (CEUs), which are equal to 1.5 contact hours.  In accordance with Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education requirements on disclosure, information about relationships of presenters with commercial interests (if any) will be included in materials which will be distributed at the time of the conference.  WPIC is approved by the American Psychological Association to offer continuing education for psychologists.  WPIC maintains responsibility for this program and its contents.  This program is being offered for 1.5 continuing education credits. 

For more information regarding this lecture, please contact Frances Patrick at