Bita Moghaddam, PhD

Professor, Neuroscience, Psychiatry


A455 Langley Hall
F: 412-624-9198
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PhD, University of Kansas (1987)


Cellular basis of goal-directed behavior and animal models of schizophrenia.

Research Summary

We use a systems approach to study the neuronal mechanisms that maintain cognitive and emotional functions in key brain regions that have been implicated in symptoms of schizophrenia, ADHD, anxiety, and addictive disorders. Our primary focus is on prefrontal cortex subregions and dopamine neurons in the midbrain. We use electrophysiological and neurochemical methods to study the coordinated activity of these regions during various behavioral paradigms. Pharmacological or environmental manipulation of these systems is used to model variables that are relevant to disease. New directions include characterization of these neuronal systems during adolescence. The onset of symptoms for most psychiatric disorders is during adolescence; therefore, understanding what goes awry in this developmental period is critical for defining the neuronal basis of the disease process and designing strategies that prevent the onset of symptoms.


Book: Schizophrenia: Evolution and Synthesis, (S Silverstein, B Moghaddam, T Wykes, Eds), Strungmann Forum Reports, The MIT Press, 2013.

Bondi, C.O., Taha, A.Y., Tock, J.L., Totah, N.K., Cheon, Y., Torres, G., Rapoport, S.I., Moghaddam, B. Adolescent behavior and dopamine availability are uniquely sensitive to dietary omega-3 fatty acid deficiency, Biological Psychiatry, 75: 38-46, 2014.

Totah, N., Kim, Y., Moghaddam, B. Distinct pre-stimulus and post-stimulus activation of VTA neurons correlates with stimulus detection. Journal of Neurophysiology, 110(1):75, 2013.85, 2013.

Moghaddam, B. A mechanistic approach to preventing schizophrenia in at-risk individuals. Neuron, 78(1): 1-3, 2013.

Matthews, M., Bondi, C.O., Torres, G., Moghaddam, B. Reduced presynaptic dopamine activity in adolescent dorsal striatum. Neuropsychopharmacology, 38(7): 1344-51, 2013.

Sturman, D.A., Moghaddam, B. The striatum processes reward differently in adolescents versus adults. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 109:1719. 24, 2012.

Wood, J., Kim, Y.B., Moghaddam, B. Disruption of Prefrontal Cortex Large Scale Neuronal Activity by Different Classes of Psychotomimetic Drugs. Journal of Neuroscience, 32(9):3022-31, 2012.