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Scott Thompson

Scott Thompson

University of Maryland

Scott is Professor and Chair of the Department of Physiology and Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD ( Scott received a B.S. in Biology with a concentration in Neurobiology from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in Neurobiology from Stanford in 1986. He then spent nearly 10 years on the faculty of the University of Zurich, Switzerland, at the Brain Research Institute before coming to the University of Maryland in 1998. He was named Chair of Physiology in 2011.

Scott’s research is focused on understanding what goes wrong in the brain in patients suffering from depression and using that knowledge to identify novel therapeutic strategies for treatment. Stressful life events are a key risk factor for depressive disorders. His laboratory uses chronic stress to produce changes in the behavior of rats and mice that are analogous to the behavioral symptoms of human depression, such as anhedonia. This research has revealed that cells in parts of the brain that respond to rewarding stimuli do not communicate effectively after chronic stress and that all known antidepressant drugs restore normal communication in these same brain regions. These findings led to the identification of a novel class of GABA-modulating compounds that produce rapid antidepressant-like actions in rodents. He is currently working to bring these compounds from the laboratory to the clinic. Building on earlier work on the synaptic actions of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, he is currently investigating the mechanism underlying the antidepressant actions of psychedelic compounds.

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