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Thakkar Katharine N Thakkar
Assistant Professor
Ph.D. Vanderbilt University, Psychology 2012
Bachelors Boston University, Psychology 2004
Bachelors Boston University, Mathematics, concentration in Statistics 2004
Primary Program: Clinical
110C Psychology
(517) 884-8489

Research Statement

My research program aims to understand the biological basis of psychotic disorders, namely schizophrenia.  More specifically, I use translational methods, largely grounded in animal neurophysiology, to examine the basic building blocks of impaired cognition, disrupted social abilities, and the core disturbances in the sense of self purported to characterize psychosis. Understanding these most basic impairments that give rise to the profound cognitive, social, and psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia can help us pinpoint disturbances in specific functional circuitry.  A deeper understanding of these symptoms and their mechanisms will eventually lead to more targeted behavioral and pharmacological treatment options. To explore the neurobiology of psychotic disorders, I use a variety of approaches including eye tracking, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), behavioral experiments, and first-person accounts of experience. 

Related Research Websites
MSU Clinical Neuroscience Lab The goal of our lab is to undestand the cognitive and biological mechanisms of psychotic disorders, with a focus on schizophrenia. We are particularly interested in how alterations in brain function are related to cognitive and social difficulties, psychotic symptoms (like hallucinations and delusions) and more generally to the subjective experience of individuals who have been diagnosed with psychotic disorders. In our group, we use a range of methods to answer these questions, including functional MRI, diffusion tensor MRI, magnetic responsance spectroscopy, eye tracking, and experimental psychology paradigms. A deeper understanding of symptoms and their mechanisms hold the promise to lead to more targeted and effective behavioral and pharmacological treatment options.

Research Publications    
2017Thakkar, K.N., Rösler, L., Wijnen, J.P., Boer, V.O., Klomp, D.W.J., Cahn, W., Kahn, R.S., Neggers, S.F.W. (2017) 7T proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy of GABA, glutamate, and glutamine reveals altered concentrations in schizophrenia patients and healthy siblings. Biological Psychiatry, 81:525-535.
2017Thakkar, K.N., Diwadkar, V., Rolfs, M. (in press) Oculomotor prediction: a window into the psychotic mind. Trends in Cognitive Sciences.
2016Thakkar, K.N., van den Heiligenberg, F.M.Z., Kahn, R.S., Neggers, S.F.W. (in press) Speed of saccade execution and inhibition associated with fractional anisotropy in distinct fronts-frontal and fronto-striatal white matter pathways. Human Brain Mapping.
2016Zerr, P., Thakkar, K.N., Uzunbajakau, S., Van der Stigchel, S. (2016) Error compensation in random vector double step saccades with and without global adaptation. Vision Research, 127:141-151.
2016Asscheman, S., Thakkar, K.N., Neggers, S.F.W. (2016) Changes in effective connectivity of the superior parietal lobe during inhibition and redirection of eye movements. Journal of Experimental Neuroscience, 9(S1): 27-40.
2015Thakkar, K.N., Schall, J.D., Heckers, S., Park, S. (2015) Disrupted saccadic corollary discharge in schizophrenia. Journal of Neuroscience, 35(27): 9935-9945.
2015Thakkar, K.N., Schall, J.D., Logan, G.D., Park, S. (2015) Cognitive control of gaze in bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Psychiatry Research, 225: 254-262.
2015Rösler, L., Rolfs, M., van der Stigchel, S., Neggers, S.F.W., Cahn, W., Kahn, R.S, Thakkar, K.N. (2015) Failure to use corollary discharge to remap visual target locations is associated with psychotic symptom severity in schizophrenia. Journal of Neurophysiology, 114: 1129-1136
2015Thakkar, K.N., Schall, J.D., Logan, G.D., Park, S. (2015) Response inhibition and response monitoring in a saccadic double-step task in schizophrenia. Brain and Cognition, 95: 90-98.
2014Thakkar, K.N., Congdon, E., Poldrack, R.A., Sabb, F.W., London, E.D., Cannon, T.D., Bilder, R.M. (2014) Women are more sensitive than men to prior trial events on the stop signal task. British Journal of Psychology, 105(2):254-72.