Area 4

Biological bases of psychiatric disorders and nuclear psychiatry

Team leader

Strategic objectives

Our group studies severe psychiatric disorders from the neurobiological, psychological and therapeutic perspectives, based on the following 6 research lines: bipolar disorders, schizophrenia and depression-anxiety, child and adolescens pediatric psychiatry and psychology,liaison psychiatry psychiatric and alcoholism.

Main lines of research

  • The bipolar disorders program mainly investigates the neurobiological and anatomofunctional mechanisms involved in the development of the disease (genetics, neuromodulators, hormone factors and neuroimaging) and its relapses, the clinical course and neuropsychological consequences, the efficacy of drug treatments and novel therapies, and psychological interventions for the early detection and prevention of recurrences .
  • The schizophrenia program focuses research on first episodes and on resistant and comorbid schizophrenia. The main lines include neuroimaging, neurobiology and molecular psychiatry; neurocognition, neuropsychology and psychoeducation; pharmacogenetics of antipsychotic drugs; physical health; high-risk population, A program has been developed for characterizing and preventing second psychotic episodes.
  • The main research lines of the Alcohol Unit are: prospectives longitudinal follow-up of alcohol dependent patients; development of screening instruments and techniques for early detection and brief interventions in risk drinkers.; evaluation and prognosis of alcoholic patients candidates for liver transplantation; treatment of smoking in alcoholic patients; evaluation of te European alcohol policies and their public health impact; and research on anticraving drugs.
  • The line relating to depression aims to implement new psychopathological and biological endophenotypic methods applied to major depression, with the development of mechanisms for the analysis of the mechanism of action of antidepressant drugs based on the platelet model of depression; investigation of neurotrophic factors (BDNF) in depressive patients; and the exploration of factors conditioning the residual symptoms of major depression.
  • The main research lines of the pediatric psychiatry and psychology research group are: children and adolescent with a first psychotic episode, cognitive rehabilitation of subjects at high-risk of developing a psychotic or affective disorde. Alterations in anorexia and bulimia nervosa and new management approaches. Alterations in obsessivecompulsive disorder and autoimmune alterations in obsessive behaviors. Addictive behaviors in children and adolescents, efficacy and safety of psychoactive drugs, autistic spectrum disorders, the development and validation of clinical scales, and the study of children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • The line of liasison psychiatry has focused research on psychiatric and psychological aspects in the main neurological diseases: dementia, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease. and also on those associated with medical-surgical hospital processes (transplantation, delirium, suicide). In outpatients setting the research has focused on clinical and biological markers related with gender identity disorder (transsexual population).
  • Investigations likewise have been conducted into personality disorders: the structure of the diagnostic systems, their relationship to adjustment to the environment and the validation of new models and instruments.

Research Group

Bipolar disorders

Eduard Vieta


The bipolar disorder program has been recognized as a consolidated research group (2009 SGR 1022) by the Agència de Gestió d’Ajuts Universitaris i de Recerca, AGAUR. The program, characterizad by a multidisciplinary approach, investigates the neurobiological and anatomofunctional mechanisms involved in the development and clinical course of the disease, comorbidity, implicatd neurocognitive mechanisms, and the search for new pharmacological,biophysical and psychosocial treatments. As a result, the main international diagnostic and treatment guides document these contributions and recommend their application. We have active collaboration (multicenter studies in translational and innovative investigation) with other IDIBAPS, CIBERSAM, and research groups.

Research Group


Miquel Bernardo


The Clinical Schizophrenia Group (GEC) has been recognized as a consolidated research group (2005SGR00223; 2009SGR1295) by the Agència de Gestió d’Ajuts Universitaris i de Recerca, AGAUR. This interdisciplinary group focuses on schizophrenia and related disorders in clinical care, research and teaching. The research is centered on the study of first episodes, childhood and adolescent-onset, resistant and comorbid schizophrenia.. We have active collaboration (multicenter studies in translational and innovative investigation) with other IDIBAPS, CIBERSAM, and international research groups. We collaborate with a European network of research in schizophrenia and maintain close relationship to American research networks.

Research Group

Child and adolescent psychiatry and psychology

Josefina Castro


This research group is part of the Department of Childhood and Adolescent Psychiatry of the Hospital Clinic. Our aim is to facilitate both clinical research and collaboration with groups specialized in genetics, neuroimaging and neurobiology. The group forms part of the CIBERSAM (Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Salud Mental) and it has established important collaborations with the Department of Adult Psychiatry of the Hospital Clinic as well as with other centers at international level, such as the Childhood Psychiatry Group of the European College of Neuopsychopharmacology, the University of Pittsburgh (United States), and the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Center of Yale, New Haven (United States).

50/50 Program

Multimodal neuroimaging in high risk and early psychosis

Gisela Sugranyes


This programme which is integrated in the research group in Child and Adolescent Psychology and Psychiatry, seeks to understand the neural mechanisms underlying the development of psychotic disorders in children and adolescents. Specifically, it aims to identify structural and functional neural correlates which characterize youth at high risk for psychosis and during the early phase of the disorder. It also aims to explore the relationship between neuroimaging measures and clinical and neuropsychological phenotypes, in addition to the interaction with specific genotypes. Particular focus is given to the interaction between illnessrelated changes and processes associated to normative child and adolescent neurodevelopment, given the age range of this population. On a translational level, priority is given to the identification of factors predicting transition to psychosis and functional outcomes, in addition to identification of treatment targets.

50/50 Program

Research Group on Addictions - Clinic

Antoni Gual


The Research Group on Addictions – Clinic is part of the Red de Trastornos Adictivos (RETICS) and has been recognized by AGAUR (SGR00649). Our final goal is to promote an evidence based and high quality care for addicted patients. Our research follows three main strands: a) prevention, epidemiology, social and economical costs and morbid-mortality linked to addictions; b) New therapies (evaluation of new drugs in phases 3 and 4), mHealth interventions, screening of drugs in body fluids, group therapies, etc; c) Evaluation and management of complex patients with somatic problems and addictions (liver transplant, chronic pain, etc.)