Dr. Forsyth is interested in understanding how genetic and molecular abnormalities interact with development to yield the broad phenotype associated with schizophrenia. She first became interested in these questions while studying animal models of schizophrenia as an undergraduate student at Queen’s University, in Canada. She subsequently pursued training in electrophysiology, neuroimaging, and behavioral methods for probing the phenotype of schizophrenia in humans as a research assistant under Drs. Bill Hetrick and Brian O’Donnell in the Clinical and Cognitive Neuroscience Center at Indiana University, and as a Ph.D. student in Clinical Psychology at UCLA under the mentorship of Drs. Tyrone Cannon and Robert Asarnow. After completing her clinical psychology internship at the University of Pittsburgh Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, she returned to UCLA to begin training in bioinformatics methods for characterizing the functional consequences of genetic variants associated with schizophrenia under the mentorship Drs. Carrie Bearden and Giovanni Coppola, through the UCLA Center for Neurobehavioral Genetics.

Thus, Dr. Forsyth’s research projects have focused on:

  • Characterizing neurocognitive and neurobiological phenotypes associated with genetic risk for schizophrenia
  • Identifying disrupted neural networks that predict increased risk for developing schizophrenia
  • Understanding the role of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor dysfunction and disrupted synaptic plasticity in the cognitive symptoms and pathogenesis of schizophrenia
  • Identifying convergent neurodevelopmental processes impacted by polygenic risk for schizophrenia and related disorders

Ultimately, Dr. Forsyth hopes to be able to integrate genomic, clinical, and neuroimaging data to help map the etiology and progression of schizophrenia during development.