Research project in dissociative disorders awarded an Experiment Grant

Associate Professor Naoki Yamawaki receives an Experiment Grant and 2 mil. DKK from Lundbeck Foundation earmarked a project that identifies the mechanisms behind the dissociative side effects of ketamine and its antidepressant actions.

Photo: Jesse Orrico, Unsplash
Naoki Yamawaki, private photo

Ketamine is known to be effective in treating patients with treatment-resistant depression, but its use is limited due to the dissociative side effects it can induce. Dissociation refers to a mental state where one feels disconnected from reality or experiences a separation from aspects of their thoughts, feelings, or identity.

Now Associate Professor Naoki Yamawaki from Jelena Radulovic Group wishes to investigate whether the dissociative effects and antidepressant actions of ketamine are governed by common circuit mechanisms in the brain. By dissecting the cellular and circuit basis of both phenomena, the goal is to identify mechanisms specific to dissociation, which is a debilitating symptom of dissociative disorders.

Understanding these mechanisms could lead to the development of new treatments for dissociation and provide reliable biomarkers for the actions of dissociative drugs. In essence, this research seeks to unravel the complexities of ketamine's effects on the brain, particularly focusing on dissociation, with the ultimate aim of improving treatments for related disorders.