Stephan Heckers, M.D.

Stephan Heckers, M.D.


William P. and Henry B. Test Professor
Chair, Department of Psychiatry
Vanderbilt University

To explore the neural basis of psychiatric disorders, Dr. Heckers and his group combine neuroimaging experiments of brain structure and function in psychotic patients with postmortem studies of the cellular and molecular basis of psychosis. Of particular interest are the mechanisms of cognitive deficits and psychotic symptoms in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Using functional neuroimaging, Dr. Heckers has demonstrated that impaired recruitment of the hippocampus is related to the decreased ability of patients with schizophrenia to retrieve previously learned information. Complementary studies of postmortem hippocampal specimens have shown decreased neuron number and gene expression for subsets of interneurons in both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Before joining Vanderbilt University, Dr. Heckers taught at Harvard Medical School and served as director of the Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder Program at McLean Hospital.

NARSAD Grants: Young Investigator 1991 and 1998

Foundation Prizes: 2002 Klerman Prize Honorable Mention for Exceptional Clinical Research by a Young Investigator