The Columbia Schizophrenia Research Center
The Columbia Schizophrenia Research Center (CSRC) is located at the New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI) on the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Campus, and is part of the Columbia University Department of Psychiatry.
Our research center is a fully functioning clinic which includes a staff of doctors and trained research scientists. Our clinical staff provides outpatient services, free of charge, to individuals participating in research studies conducted by NYSPI and Columbia faculty investigators. Treatment services include: a full psychiatric evaluation; individual medication management visits with a clinical psychiatrist; and individual therapies. The ability to follow patients over time helps to develop a comprehensive knowledge base about schizophrenia.
We specialize in schizophrenia (and schizoaffective disorder) research and conduct several research studies at any given time, all of which are designed to answer questions about the nature and causes of schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder and optimal treatment approaches. Occasionally our studies examine psychiatric disorders other than schizophrenia.
General Criteria for Admission
Individuals willing to participate in research will be considered for admission to the outpatient services we provide. The following general criteria are also required:
- A diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder
- 18-65 years of age
- No significant medical problems
- No recent history of significant violence or self-injurious behavior
- No current alcohol or substance use disorder
- Ability to give informed consent for the research procedures
About Our Research
The Columbia Schizophrenia Research Center (CSRC) supports a number of research studies designed to answer questions about the nature and causes of schizophrenia and optimal treatment approaches. At any given time, we are typically conducting and recruiting for four or more different studies, for which the specifics of eligibility/ineligibility criteria may vary. However in most cases, a person who meets the criteria in the bulleted list above, “General Criteria for Admission”, would likely be eligible for at least one or more of the studies that we are currently conducting. Research studies are not designed for the individual’s direct benefit. However, research findings that may have clinical significance for treatment are reported to the individual’s clinician. We work closely with our research participants’ clinicians (their Psychiatrist or Doctor, if they have one) and would not enroll anyone in a study if their clinician feels this is a poor idea. If a patient is not currently receiving treatment from a Doctor, we have the ability to take on their clinical care (treatment services include: a full psychiatric evaluation; individual medication management visits with a clinical psychiatrist; and individual therapies)— all free of charge. Of course, medications administered as part of research procedures are free of cost. Once the research study is completed, we can make excellent referrals for patient care or continue to see the patient as needed. If we continue to see a patient clinically after the conclusion of a research study, they would only be responsible for the cost of their medication and not the study center visit itself.
What are some of the research studies conducted through the Columbia Schizophrenia Research Center (CSRC)?
- Clinical drug trials of new medications for cognitive (problem solving and memory) and negative symptoms (motivation and socialization) in schizophrenia
- Studies of novel, state of the art treatments
- Studies of brain anatomy and chemistry using EEG, MRI, fMRI, MRS, and PET
- Electrophysiological evaluation of information processing and memory (e.g. the brain’s reaction to sensory stimulation and memory tasks)
In general, what will research participants be asked to do?
- Complete a physical exam (includes vital signs, blood draw, urine screen, & drug test)
- Take an experimental pharmaceutical drug or placebo
- Wear an EEG cap and undergo an EEG scan
- Undergo an MRI, fMRI, MRS, or PET
- Meet with a psychiatrist, psychologist or staff member and answer questions (using standardized assessment tools [SCID-5 & PANSS]) about their schizophrenia and their mood lately
- NOTE: Most, but not all of our studies involve taking an experimental medication. We do sometimes have studies available that do not require a participant to take any experimental medication.
CONTACT US if you are interested in participating in and/or learning more about our research studies:
Interested individuals should call Melissa (at 646-774-8496) or Moriah (at 646-774-8431). Initial phone discussions will focus on gathering basic information and answering questions. Individuals meeting criteria will be invited for an on-site screening interview, to learn more about specific research studies and clinical components of the Columbia Schizophrenia Research Center (CSRC).
Marlene Carlson, M.P.H.
Clinical Coordinator, Columbia Schizophrenia Research Center
New York State Psychiatric Institute
1051 Riverside Drive, Suite 1800
New York, NY 10032
Current Clinical Trials:
Placebo-Controlled Medication Studies:
D1 Study (CVL-562)
Study Title: A Translational and Neurocomputational Evaluation of a D1R Partial Agonist for Schizophrenia
Brief Description: This is a 6 week long randomized clinical trial (7 study center visits total) which will evaluate four oral doses of a novel experimental medication known as CVL-562 (a dopamine-1 receptor partial agonist) in outpatient subjects aged 18-45 who are within 10 years of onset of schizophrenia, schizoaffective, or schizophreniform disorder. All subjects who complete the full study will receive a single dose of 4 active doses (1mg, 4mg, 15mg, or 25mg) and placebo once across the 5 study visits in a randomized order. During 5 treatment visits, response to medication or placebo is measured by a spatial working memory task performed by the participant during an fMRI scan. The participants will continue on their current antipsychotic treatment.
BI12 Study (CONNEX-2, BI 425809)
Study Title: A phase III randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel group trial to examine the efficacy and safety of BI425809 once daily over 26 week treatment period in patients with schizophrenia (CONNEX)
Brief Description: The purpose of BI12 is to assess the efficacy in improving cognitive impairment associated withs schizophrenia (CIAS) in clinically stable outpatients. Participants will be randomized in equal ratio to either BI425809 10mg or placebo. The study consists of 3 periods: Screening Period (up to 7 weeks), Study Drug Period (26 weeks) and Safety Follow up Period (4 weeks). The study involves procedures such as physical exams, electrocardiograms (ECGs), blood and urine tests, urine drug screens, pregnancy tests (if applicable) and schizophrenia evaluations and interviews.
REVISIT C Study
Study Title: Clozapine for Prevention of Violence in Schizophrenia: a Randomized Clinical Trial
Brief Description: Two-hundred and eighty individuals with schizophrenia who have a recent history of violent acts will be randomized in this 2-arm, parallel-group, 24-week, open-label, 7-site clinical trial to examine the effects of treatment with clozapine vs antipsychotic treatment as usual (TAU) for reducing the risk of violent acts in real-world settings.
Assessment Study (does not involve experimental medication):
Study Title: Neural Mechanisms of Reading Dysfunction in Schizophrenia
Brief Description: This study focuses on reading deficits in first-episode schizophrenia. It is funded by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). This study addresses how reading deficits affect patients during the earliest phases of the illness (“first episode”) and the immediately preceding period (“clinical high risk”)—especially the relationship between reading disability and social/occupational function (e.g. the ability to succeed at school, hold a job, communicate with others). In total, study procedures (initial screening, auditory measures, visual/oculomotor measures, cognition/outcome measures, social cognition measures, EEG, and fMRI) occur over the span of a total of 6-7 hours and can typically be completed across 2-4 sessions. No experimental medication is required for this study; participants will continue on their current prescribed antipsychotic medications during the study.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
Will research participants be compensated for volunteering?
Yes— we will compensate volunteers for their time and effort while participating in research. Typically participants would recieve $50-$150 per study center visit.
Are there risks and/or side-effects associated with the research conducted at Columbia Schizophrenia Research Center?
All research poses some risks and some side-effects. Clinical care is our primary concern. Our doctors and the research staff will go over all of the risks and side-effects with research participants. If a participant’s schizophrenia starts to get worse, they may be removed from the study. Research findings that may have clinical significance for treatment are reported to the individual and their clinician.
Do participants need to visit the study center in-person in order to participate in research?
Yes— all of our clinical trials require participants to complete study visits in-person at our clinic, which is located in the New York State Psychiatric Institute building, in Washington Heights (Manhattan, NY). Although some of the procedures involved in research participation can be completed virutally/remotely for some studies, for the most part, most visits will require the participant to be present in-person.
What else does Columbia Schizophrenia Research Center offer?
Treatment services include: a full psychiatric evaluation; individual medication management visits with a clinic psychiatrist; and individual therapy.
How long do the studies last?
Our studies last anywhere from a few weeks to a year, depending on the study.
Can patients continue taking their current medication while participating in research?
Yes— most but not all of our studies involve patients continuing to take antipsychotic medication while participating in the research study. Any exceptions are included in the brief study summaries above.
In general, what will research participants be asked to do?
A bulleted list of some general prodecedures typically involved in research participation is included at the top of this page.
Who should I contact to learn more about research at Columbia Schizophrenia Research Center?
Our recruitment staff is happy to answer any questions about our current studies. To learn more or to find out if you are eligible to participate in current studies, please call 646-774-8496 or 646-774-8431.