The Department of Psychiatry Research Clinic seeks new ways to treat and prevent mental illness through efficient and safe research.

  • Self-contained clinic with certified laboratory
  • Easy access and parking for clinical trial participants
  • Positron Emission Topography (PET) Imaging Center Access
  • Children's Center partnership and psychological testing support
  • Board Certified Physician Investigators
  • Two Clinical Research Coordinators 
  • One Administrative Assistant III 

The Psychopharmacology Research Clinic believes that a diverse population with unique needs can benefit from the study of mental health issues, including novel medications and behavioral interventions. With a focus on the patient, the staff is dedicated to understanding the basis of mental illnesses through compassionate care and precision analysis using various investigational tools. 

Stephanie Lafitte Saunders, MA, CCRC
(318) 429-2160


Marc Colon, MD

Marc Colon, MD

Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine
Mary Fitz-Gerald, MD

Mary Fitz-Gerald, MD

Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Specialist
Rita Horton, MD

Rita Horton, MD

Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine
John Wagner III, MD

John Wagner III, MD

Clinical Associate Professor and Vice-Chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine


The Department of Psychiatry has basic research programs in several different areas. There is a major emphasis on understanding the full biological activity of antipsychotic drugs. This includes the induction of weight gain and diabetes by second-generation (atypical) antipsychotics, and the enhancement of neurite outgrowth and cell viability by atypical drugs such as olanzapine and clozapine. Novel mechanisms of drug action are being investigated at the molecular and cellular levels. We have identified important kinase signaling pathways (Akt and ERK) that are impacted by the atypical drugs. In addition, the department has an active research program focused on the use of model organisms, specifically the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, to study the effects of antipsychotic drugs on lipid metabolism and neuronal development. This work has led to significant new observations linking the drugs to calcium-calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II signaling, serotonin production, and behavioral adaptation. The department is also active in drug discovery research with the goal of producing the next generation of antipsychotic drugs. This effort includes biological screening of chemical libraries, molecular modeling, and the design of novel lead compounds. Various faculty, residents, graduate students, and research associates have contributed to this work over the years. Exciting research opportunities are available for residents, especially in the third and fourth years of the residency program. 

Current researchers involved in the Molecular Neuroscience Research:

Donard S. Dwyer, PhD 
(318) 675-7612

Parrin Patterson
Research Associate


AAHRPP (Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs, Inc.)

Autism Society of America
Serving the needs of individuals with autism and their families through advocacy, education, public awareness, and research.

Center for Information & Study on Clinical Research
CISCRP is a nonprofit group dedicated to educating and informing the public, patients, medical/research communities, the media, and policy makers about clinical research participation.

Resources for patients and families interested in participating in clinical trials.
Clinical trial registry and results database providing information about a trial's purpose, who may participate, study locations, and contact information.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Regulations, news and science-based information to promote animal and human health.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Regulations, news and science-based information to promote animal and human health.

National Institutes of Health
Disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment information, and innovations in medical research invested in improving health.

National Institute of Mental Health
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is the lead federal agency for research on mental disorders.

The National Sleep Foundation
An independent nonprofit organization dedicated to improving public health and safety by achieving understanding of sleep and sleep disorders, and by supporting education, sleep-related research, and advocacy.

Participant registry funded in part by the National Institute of Health (NIH) Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) program. 

SAMHSA, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration 
Mental health information and support.


Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine