Fabio Ferrarelli, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor, Psychiatry

Contact

3501 Forbes Ave., Suite 456
ferrarellif@upmc.edu
Website >

Focus

Neural circuits implicated in the development, pathophysiology, and treatment of schizophrenia and other major psychiatric disorders.

Research Summary

How do changes in neural circuits leads to the development and full manifestation of schizophrenia and other major psychiatric disorders?  And are these changes reversible with targeted, biologically informed interventions? To address these questions, our lab is currently employing several experimental techniques, including functional and anatomical Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Imaging (MRSI), Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), and high-density Electroencephalography (hd-EEG) in both healthy and psychiatric populations. Building on previous work, where we found a marked reduction in sleep spindles, NREM sleep-specific 12-16 Hz oscillations generated by thalamo-cortical circuits , as well as a decrease in TMS-evoked EEG cortical gamma oscillations in patients with schizophrenia relative to healthy controls, we are currently conducting NIMH-funded studies to collect these and other biological measures in both early course schizophrenia and in individuals at clinical high risk of psychosis. We are also collaborating on several projects investigating the acute effects of repetitive TMS paradigms on cognition, behavior, and clinical symptoms in obsessive-compulsive and major depression patients. Overall, the overarching goal of our lab is to develop novel, more effective treatment interventions for schizophrenia and other major psychiatric disorders.

Publications

- Buchmann A, Dentico D, Peterson MJ, Riedner BA, Sarasso S, Massimini M, Tononi G, Ferrarelli F. Reduced mediodorsal thalamic volume and prefrontal cortical spindle activity in schizophrenia. Neuroimage. 2014 Nov 15; 102 Pt 2:540-7. PMID: 25139002.

- Goldstein MR, Peterson MJ, Sanguinetti JL, Tononi G, Ferrarelli F. Topographic deficits in alpha-range resting EEG activity and steady state visual evoked responses in schizophrenia. Schizophr Res. 2015 Oct; 168(1-2):145-52. PMID: 26159669.

- Ferrarelli F, Riedner BA, Peterson MJ, Tononi G. Altered prefrontal activity and connectivity predict different cognitive deficits in schizophrenia. Hum Brain Mapp. 2015 Nov; 36(11):4539-52. PMID: 26288380.

- Kaskie RE, Gill KM, Ferrarelli F. Reduced frontal slow wave density during sleep in first-episode psychosis. Schizophr Res. 2018 Oct 27. pii: S0920-9964(18)30626-1. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2018.10.024.

- Ferrarelli F, Kaskie RE, Graziano B, Reis CC, Casali AG. Abnormalities in the evoked frontal oscillatory activity of first-episode psychosis: A TMS/EEG study. Schizophr Res. 2018 Nov 22. pii: S0920-9964(18)30638-8. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2018.11.008. PMID: 30473213.