The proposed application is for a 5 year competing renewal of a K02 award. The current award has allowed the candidate to develop and complete many studies on the relationship between novel prenatal exposures and risk of schizophrenia, using rigorous methodologic approaches in a large birth cohort. These findings included the first serologic evidence that several prenatal infections and immune markers increased the vulnerability to schizophrenia. In the present application, the candidate seeks to extend his ongoing theme of research on the epidemiology of prenatal factors and adult psychopathology in new and important directions.
The research aims i nclude: 1) examining the specificity of prenatal factors that have been associated previously with schizophrenia by investigating their relationship with bipolar disorder;2) investigating whether specific prenatal micronutrients [vitamin B12, iron (ferritin), vitamin A (retinol)] are associated with an increased risk of adult schizophrenia;3) examining the interplay between genetic polymorphisms and prenatal nutrients in the etiology of schizophrenia. The career development plan will provide the candidate with the necessary expertise to address questions that represent the confluence of his existing skill set and the following three training activities necessary to carry out the proposed research objectives. The areas of training include: 1) research in the neurobiology and pathogenesis of bipolar disorder;2) nutrition;3) genetics. These activities will include periodic discussions with experts in their respective fields, formal coursework, seminars, and scientific meetings, and didactic readings. The research plan will also serve as a vehicle by which the candidate will further his ability to practically apply his new knowledge base to the above research objectives. The proposed work has important implications for the investigator's ongoing career development in the identification of new prenatal factors for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and the discovery of putative susceptibility genes that interact with these exposures.
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