Stella Dracheva, Ph.D.

Stella Dracheva, Ph.D., Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Standard Research Grant (2008): $63,750

Ionotropic Glutamate Receptor mRNA Editing in Suicide

Abstract: One of the difficult questions faced by researchers who study brain tissue of suicide decedents is distinguishing abnormalities that are specifically related to suicide from those that accompany the underlying psychiatric illness. In this study, the investigator will compare pre-frontal cortex tissue from three groups of subjects: patients with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia who died by suicide, patients with one of these disorders who died from a cause other than suicide, and normal controls (non-suicides with no psychiatric disorder). The primary hypothesis to be tested is that suicide death among patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder is related to particular variations in the mRNA editing process that occurs in subunits of glutamate receptors. If this hypothesis is supported, it would have implications for identifying an important biological underpinning of suicide, and could lead to the development of medications that could prevent suicide by targeting the editing enzymes, thus manipulating the disordered editing process.