Sleep and circadian rhythm disruption represent a major risk factor for cancer progression and its associated side-effects such as mood disorders and cognitive impairment. Using mouse models of sleep and circadian rhythm disruption of shift workers, we are identifying the impact of poor sleep and dysregulated body clocks on cancer and cancer-associated side-effects to improve the lives of cancer patients.
The Laboratory of ImmunoPsychiatry collaborates closely with the Schizophrenia Research Laboratory at NeuRA. We are investigating the role of astrocytes in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia and the intersection of antipsychotic treatments with neuroinflammation to improve treatments for schizophrenia.
Cognitive impairment is extremely common among cancer patients and survivors. The Laboratory of ImmunoPsychiatry has determined that the cancer itself contributes to this using animal models of breast cancer, which may be prevented by the use of anti-inflammatory drugs. We are now trying to determine the precise biological changes that occur in the brains of cancer patients that lead to long-term cognitive impairment and identify novel treatment strategies that can be tested in clinical populations from diagnosis through to the end of treatment.