The Moghaddam Lab uses a systems approach to study the neuronal mechanisms that maintain cognitive and emotional functions in key brain regions that have been implicated in symptoms of schizophrenia, ADHD, anxiety and addictive disorders. Our primary focus is on prefrontal cortex subregions and dopamine neurons in the midbrain. We use electrophysiological and neurochemical methods to study the coordinated activity of these regions during various behavioral paradigms. Pharmacological or environmental manipulation of these systems is used to model variables that are relevant to disease. Our work thus far has led to fundamental new conceptualization about the pathophysiology of schizophrenia and identified novel pharmacological approaches for treatment of this brain disease. New directions include characterization of these neuronal systems during adolescence. The onset of symptoms for most psychiatric disorders is during adolescence; therefore, understanding what goes awry in this developmental period is critical for defining the neuronal basis of the disease process and designing strategies that prevent the onset of symptoms.