Dwight Newton is pursuing his PhD in Pharmacology at the University of Toronto, supervised by Dr. Etienne Sibille. His research aims to better understand the neurobiology of psychiatric disorders, with a focus on depression. He spends his days generating and analyzing next-generation sequencing data from post-mortem brain tissue, to identify gene expression profiles involved in the maladaptations of neocortical microcircuits occurring in mental illnesses.
Current psychiatric medications have widely varying response rates, with only half of all patients receiving antidepressants achieving remission. A major contributor to this phenomenon is that the traditional symptom-based diagnoses do not necessarily reflect the biological diversity of psychiatric disorders. This project will address this problem by understanding the neurobiology of depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia, using this knowledge to identify neurobiologically similar groups of individuals, and ultimately drive the development of personalized treatments targeting specific pathologies.