B.Sc.(Hon), M.Sc., M.D. (Queen's) F.R.C.P.C.
Position: Jack Bell Chair in Schizophrenia Research, Professor
Office: 604 822 7310
Fax: 604 822 0399
Translational research: applying neuroscience techniques to investigate brain disorders.
Clinical research: clinical trials and studies of risk factors for disease.
Synaptic Proteins and Connectivity in Neuropsychiatric Disorders
A panel of monoclonal antibodies developed in the lab are used
to investigate disorders including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder,
aging, and Alzheimer's disease.
Distinct changes in amount, distribution and interactions of these
proteins are found in each illness.
In vitro systems are being developed to study regulation of the
synaptic proteins, and to permit screening for drug effects.
Schizophrenia and related psychotic illness
The contribution of genetics, development and experience to the
onset of schizophrenia is being studied in a large, catchment-area based population.
Brain imaging is used to investigate developmental
and progressive components of schizophrenia.
The results of these projects may guide clinical studies of neurodevelopment
in patients with schizophrenia, and help define the relevant aspects to study
in animal models. Improving the methods of assessment, diagnosis and treatment
of patients with chronic psychosis provides direct benefit to the patients and their families.
Clinical trials aim to define treatment responsive
and treatment refractory components of psychotic illnesses.
Aging and dementia
A large collaborative study is underway to investigate the role of
"neural reserve" in brain aging, and the interaction with developing dementia.
This study is led by Dr. David Bennett at Rush University in Chicago,
and has recruited over 1000 subjects. Brain tissue from over 200 postmortem samples
is being studied in my laboratory.
A large collaborative study investigated factors predisposing to developing
persistent psychosis following use of methamphetamine. New studies will use brain imaging
to investigate the basis for cognitive impairment and persistent psychosis
in methamphetamine users, in parallel with animal models.
A new cohort study will investigate schizophrenia or affective psychosis,
and substance induced psychosis in people at high risk for homelessness, living
in single room occupancy hotels in Vancouver. The implications for psychosocial
function and access to health services will be examined.
1. Pajonk F-G, Wobrock T, Gruber O, Scherk H, Berner D, Kaizl I, Kierer A,
Müller S, Oest M, Meyer T, Backens M, Schneider-Axmann T, Thornton AE,
Honer WG, Falkai P (2010) Hippocampal plasticity in response to exercise
in schizophrenia. Arch Gen Psychiatry 67:133-143.
2. Barakauskas VE, Beasley CL, Barr AM, Ypsilanti AR, Li H-Y, Thornton AE,
Wong H, Rosoklija G, Mann JJ, Mancevski B, Jakovski Z, Davceva N, Ilievski
B, Dwork AJ, Falkai P, Honer WG (2010) A novel mechanism and treatment target
for presynaptic abnormalities in specific striatal regions in schizophrenia.
Neuropsychopharmacol (in press).
3. Honer WG, Procyshyn RM, Chen EYH, MacEwan GW, Barr AM (2009) A translational
research approach to poor treatment response in schizophrenia: clozapine-antipsychotic
polypharmacy. J Psychiatry Neurosci 34:433-442.
4. Beasley CL, Dwork AJ, Rosoklija G, Mann JJ, Mancevski B, Jakovski Z,
Davceva N, Tait AR, Straus SK, Honer WG (2009) Metabolic abnormalities in
fronto-striatal-thalamic white matter tracts in schizophrenia. Schizophrenia
5. Honer WG, Thornton AE, Sherwood M, MacEwan GW, Ehmann TS, Williams R,
Kopala LC, Procyshyn RM, Barr AM (2007) Conceptual and methodological issues
in the design of clinical trials of antipsychotics for the treatment of
schizophrenia. CNS Drugs 21:699-714.