Tics, OCD, and Related Disorders Research Program

The Tics, OCD, and Related Disorders Research Program seeks to unravel the causes and mechanisms behind these challenging conditions, and to develop more effective and targeted treatment options. We provide many opportunities for patients and their families to participate in ongoing research activities.

The overarching goal of our research is to understand more about the clinical phenomenology, neurobiology, and genetics of OCD and Tourette disorder, and to enrich the understanding of the risk architecture for these conditions. Our research group has several large-scale collaborative studies that focus on the genetic aspects of these disorders. In these studies, we are working to identify genes and biological markers that will ultimately enhance specific diagnostic understanding and guide the way to more targeted treatment interventions. Genetic and biological markers also provide us with the opportunity to learn more about the mechanisms that underlie the expression of clinical symptoms.

We are also interested in symptoms that occur across diagnostic categories (traditionally defined by DSM or ICD criteria). In these studies, we are focused on identifying biomarkers or genes that increase risk for trans-diagnostic symptoms such as repetitive behaviors (for example, compulsions, motor tics or stereotypies), preoccupations, or other symptoms common to different clinical diagnoses.

Our research program also includes experimental treatment options such as device interventions and neuromodulation including deep brain stimulation (DBS), clinical trials with novel compounds, and emerging drug therapies. The Nash Family Center for Advanced Circuit Therapeutics studies the psychiatric application of neuromodulation in OCD—in particular, the effects of DBS and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). There are also companion studies in depression and Parkinson’s disease. Research studies through this program strive to advance DBS and other types of neuromodulation by investigating their effects on cross-diagnostic outcomes and associated neural networks.

Faculty

Dorothy Grice, MD
Director, Tics, OCD, and Related Disorders Research Program
Director of Training, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Triple Board Program
Professor of Psychiatry

Robert Jaffe, MD
Associate Director of Training, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Talia Wiesel, PhD
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry