Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry
Yale University School of Medicine
At the forefront in studying the chemistry of neurotransmission
Dr. Aghajanian uses advanced electrophysiological technologies to study the mechanisms of chemical neurotransmission in the central nervous system. Neurotransmission involves the release of transmitter substances from presynaptic elements onto postsynaptic neurons. The interaction of a neurotransmitter with a postsynaptic receptor then induces either a direct change in ionic conductance or an indirect change in ionic conductance through an intermediary transducer molecule called a “G protein”. His group studies these actions through recordings from single neurons in rat-brain tissue samples. His team is also examining the ways in which psychotropic drugs modify the actions of neurotransmitters. Among the drugs currently under study are antipsychotics, antidepressants, hallucinogens such as LSD and mescaline, and opiates.
Dr. Aghajanian has been associated with Yale for over half a century.
Prizes: 1998 Lieber Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Schizophrenia Research