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Robert Freedman, MD

Professor and Former Chairman

Contact Info:
Clinical/Research Interests:
Dr. Freedman is interested in the central nervous system physiology and pharmacology, genetics, schizophrenia.
Secondary Appointments: Genetics, Pharmacology, Neuroscience

Harvard College BA 1968

Harvard Medical School MD 1972

VA Merit Review Board, Neurobiology 1993-1996

VA Psychiatry Specialist, Merit Review Board 1996-1997

VA MRAG 1997-1999

Visiting Scientist/VA Career Award Karolinska Institute, 2000-2001

Editorial Board, New England Journal Medicine, 2001-present

VA representative to the NIMH National Advisory Council, 2000-2006

VA Merit Review Eligibility Task Force and Review Committee 2006--2008

Selected peer-reviewed publications (of 315 Total Publications)

Freedman R.  Choice of antipsychoptic drugs for schizophrenia.  New England Journal of Medicine 353, 1286-1288, 2005.

Freedman R, Leonard S, Waldo M, Gault J, Olincy A, Adler LE. Characterization of allelic variants at chromosome 15q14 in schizophrenia.  Genes to Behavior 5 (Supp 1),14-22, 2006.

Suarez BK, Sanders AR, Duan J, Hinrichs AL, Carol H. Jin H, Hou C, Buccola NG, Mowry BJ, Amin F, Silverman JM, Black DW, Byerley WF, Crowe RR, Freedman R, Cloninger CR, Levinson DF, Gejman PV.   Genomewide Linkage Scan of 412 Families with Schizophrenia from the Molecular Genetics of Schizophrenia (MGS1) Collaboration, Suggestive Evidence for Linkage in 8p23.3-p12 and 11p11.2-q22.3.  American Journal of Human Genetics 78,315–333, 2006. 

Tanabe, J. L., Tregellas, J. R., Martin, L.F., Freedman, R.  Effects of Nicotine on Hippocampal and Cingulate Activity During Smooth Pursuit Eye Movement in Schizophrenia.  Biological Psychiatry 59,754-761. 2006.

Olincy A, Harris JG, Johnson LL, Pender V, Kongs S, Allensworth D, Ellis J, Zerbe GO, Leonard S, Stevens KE, Stevens JO, Martin L, Adler LE, Soti F, Kem WR, Freedman, R.  Proof-of-Concept Trial of an alpha7-Nicotinic Agonist in Schizophrenia.  Archives of General Psychiatry 63,630-638. 2006. 

Mexal S, Berger R, Adams CE, Ross RG, Freedman R, Leonard S. Brain pH has a significant impact on human postmortem hippocampal gene expression profiles. Brain Research 1106, 1-11, 2006.

Leonard S, Freedman R. Genetics of Chromosome 15q13-q14 in Schizophrenia. Biological Psychiatry 60,115-122, 2006. 

Hall MH, Schulze K, Rijsdijk F, Picchioni M, Ettinger U, Bramon E, Freedman R, Murray RM, Sham P.  Heritability and Reliability of P300, P50 and Duration Mismatch Negativity. Behavioral Genetics 36, 845-857, 2006. 

Martin LF, Leonard S, Hall MH, Tregellas JR, Freedman R, Olincy A.  Sensory gating and alpha-7 nicotinic receptor gene allelic variants in schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type.  Neuropsychiatric Genetics 144, 611-614, 2007.

Braff DL, Freedman R, Schork NJ, Gottesman II.  Deconstructing Schizophrenia, An Overview of the Use of Endophenotypes in Order to Understand a Complex Disorder.  Schizophrenia Bulletin 33,21-32, 2007. 

Calkins ME, Dobie DJ, Cadenhead KS, Olincy A, Freedman R, Green MF, Greenwood TA, Gur RE, Gur RC, Light GA, Mintz J, Nuechterlein KH, Radant AD, Schork NJ, Seidman LJ, Siever LJ, Silverman JM, Stone WS, Swerdlow NR, Tsuang DW, Tsuang MT, Turetsky BI, Braff DL.  The Consortium on the Genetics of Endophenotypes in Schizophrenia, Model Recruitment, Assessment, and Endophenotyping Methods for a Multisite Collaboration.  Schizophrenia Bulletin 33,33-48, 2007.

Freedman R. Neuronal dysfunction and schizophrenia symptoms.  American Journal of Psychiatry 164,385-390, 2007. 

Swerdlow NR, Sprock J, Light GA, Cadenhead K, Calkins ME, Dobie DJ, Freedman R, Green MF, Greenwood TA, Gur RE, Mintz J, Olincy A, Nuechterlein KH, Radant AD, Schork NJ, Seidman LJ, Siever LJ, Silverman JM, Stone WS, Tsuang DW, Tsuang MT, Turetsky BI, Braff DL. Multi-site studies of acoustic startle and prepulse inhibition in humans, initial experience and methodological considerations based on studies by the Consortium on the Genetics of Schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research 92,237-251 2007.

Tregellas JR, Davalos DB, Rojas DC, Waldo MC, Gibson L, Wylie K, Du YP, Freedman R. Increased hemodynamic response in the hippocampus, thalamus and prefrontal cortex during abnormal sensory gating in schizophrenia.  Schizophrenia Research 92,262-272, 2007. 

Greenwood TA, Braff DL, Light GA, Cadenhead KS, Calkins ME, Dobie DJ, Freedman R, Green MF, Gur RE, Ruben C. Gur, Mintz J, Nuechterlein KH, Olincy A, Radant AD, Seidman LJ, Siever LJ, Silverman JM, Stone WS, Swerdlow NR, Tsuang DW, Tsuang MT, Turetsky BI, Schork NJ. Initial Heritability Analyses of Endophenotypic Measures for Schizophrenia, The Consortium on the Genetics of Schizophrenia.   Archives of General Psychiatry 64,1242-1250, 2007.  

Buchanan RW, Freedman R, Javitt DC, Abi-Dargham A, Lieberman JA.  Recent Advances in the Development of Novel Pharmacological Agents for the Treatment of Cognitive Impairments in Schizophrenia.  Schizophrenia Bulletin 33,1120- 1130, 2007.

Martin LF, Hall MH, Ross RG, Zerbe G, Freedman R, Olincy A. Physiology of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and schizoaffective disorder. American Journal of Psychiatry 164:1900-1906, 2007.

Tanabe J, Crowley T, Hutchison K, Miller D, Johnson G, Du YP, Zerbe G, Freedman R. Ventral Striatal Blood Flow is Altered by Acute  Nicotine but Not Withdrawal from Nicotine.  Neuropsychopharmacology 33, 527-633, 2008. 

Sanders AR, Duan J, Levinson DF, Shi J, He D, Hou C, Burrell GJ, Rice JP, Nertney DA, Olincy A, Rozic P, Vinogradov S, Buccola NG, Mowry BJ, Freedman R, Amin F, Black DW, Silverman JM, Byerley WF, Crowe RR, Cloninger CR, Martinez M, Gejman PV.  No Significant Association of 14 Candidate Genes with Schizophrenia in a Large European Ancestry Sample, Implications for Psychiatric Genetics.  American Journal of Psychiatry 165: 497-506, 2008.

Freedman R, Olincy A., Buchanan R., Harris J, Gold J, Johnson L,  Allensworth D, Guzman-Bonilla A, Clement B, BallM, Kutnick R, Pender V, Martin L, Stevens K, Wagner B, Zerbe G, Soti F, and Kem W. Initial Phase 2 Trial of aNicotinic Agonist in Schizophrenia Am J Psychiatry 165:1040-1047,2008.

Veterans Affairs Medical Research Service National Schizophrenia Research Center, "Molecular Biology of Neuronal Abnormalities in Schizophrenia (Center for Basic and Clinical Research in Schizophrenia)".

Medical Director. 1989-2010.

This grant supports training of young investigators in molecular and neurobiological research on schizophrenia.

NIMH R01 MH61412.  “Nicotinic Agonists in Schizophrenia.”

Principal Investigator. 2006-2011

Examines a new nicotinic agonist as an antipsychotic drug in schizophrenia.


NIMH P50 MH068582 “Molecular Neurobiology of Schizophrenia.” 

Principal Investigator.  Sylvio Conte Center for Translational Neuroscience of Mental Disorders.  2004-2010.

This proposal examines the neurobiological effects of genetic polymorphisms in genes associated with schizophrenia

1 P50 MH086383-01(Freedman)        8/01/2009- 7/31/2014         

NIMH                                              $2,102,458                                                                                             

Basic to Clinical Molecular Neurobiology of Nicotinic Receptors in Schizophrenia”

The aims of this Translational Conte Center are to characterize the role of the alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor in the brain and its dysfunction and to use this biology to continue development of a new therapeutic strategy to improve the treatment of cognitive dysfunction and negative symptoms in persons who have schizophrenia .  This emerging information about the developmental role of the receptor will be used to initiate a perinatal intervention for pregnant women and their children to decrease the risk of schizophrenia.  The Center develops strategies to image inhibitory function hemodynamically and electrophysiologically, in both adults and infants, and it develops new animal models, including the transfer of human CHRNA7 into mice and models of developmental abnormalities induced by the immune response to infections.​