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MIRECC Role: Investigator, Co-Associate Director for Research
Bio: Dr. Nimgaonkar serves as a Professor of Psychiatry and Human Genetics and directs the Program for Genetics and Psychoses in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh. The program focuses on research into the causes and treatment of psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia. It serves not only an important laboratory for pursuing genetic and intervention research, but also as a training ground for young scientists. Dr Nimgaonkar has published over 240 peer reviewed papers.
Research Interests: Dr. Nimgaonkar's laboratory focuses on human-induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) technologies to model infections with viruses that can impair cognitive functions, including Herpes simplex virus, type 1 (HSV-1), Cytomegalovirus (CMV) and Zika virus (ZIKV). His group was the first to develop iPSC-based models of latent HSV-1 infection. Their cellular models have enabled them to identify several novel antiviral compounds. They are now synthesizing and testing new derivatives to identify active pharmacophores. Separately, they have used our hiPSC-neuronal models to investigate copy number variants (CNVs) that elevate risk for psychiatric disorders. They are presently refining three-dimensional culture models of hiPSC-derived neurons. His translational work emphasizes research-based training. The laboratory's work has been continuously supported for the past 25 years by the NIH of Health and currently focuses on novel interventions for severe psychiatric illnesses.