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Knowles Lab Research | Overview

A biomarker is an objective sign that indicates the presence of disease arising from pathogenic biologic processes; this is distinct from a symptom, which is an indicator of illness perceived by a patient. Current methods of diagnosis and treatment for psychiatric disorders are entirely symptom-based, making for mediocre diagnostic reliability and treatment. Identifying biomarkers for psychiatric disorders will take us a step closer to developing a mechanistic understanding of their neural bases, allowing the development of the types of precise clinical diagnoses available in other medical specialties.

The Knowles lab seeks to identify and validate blood-based biomarkers for psychiatric disorders. Promising leads for potential biomarkers in psychiatry exist, in particular genetic variation and also peripherally measured lipids and related inflammatory measures. These indices are objective, with well characterized biological underpinnings, and can be measured simply, noninvasively and inexpensively. However, they are not clinically translatable, indeed the identification of reliable biomarkers in psychiatry is lagging behind other medical specialties.

Research Topics

  • Clinical Translational Research
  • Genetics Genomics