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Scientific Research

PKU Sixth Hospital is the National Clinical Research Center for Psychiatric and Mental Disorders and the only National Key Laboratory for Mental Health founded by the National Health Commission of China. Indeed, we have the National Key Discipline of Psychiatry and Mental Health approved by the Ministry of Education. The Psychology and Psychiatry of PKU has been listed in Top 1% of Essential Science Indicators (ESI).

Under the guidance of Under the leadership of Professor Shen Yucun, academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering, and Professor Lu Lin, academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, we have built a comprehensive research team with academicians, the Yangtze River Scholar Distinguished Professor, the winner of The National Natural Science Funds for Distinguished Young Scholar, the chief scientist of National Key Basic Research Program of China (973 Program) and young leading psychiatrists and scholars. There are currently six scientific research departments including biological psychiatry, social psychiatry, child psychiatry, clinical psychiatry, and psychosomatic medicine with focuses on both clinical and basic researches. Over the years, we have undertaken a number of national, provincial and ministerial-level and international cooperation projects, and has won several major scientific research awards.

On October 23, 2014, Peking University Sixth Hospital was officially recognized as the National Clinical Research Center for Psychiatric and Mental Disorders by the Ministry of Science and Technology, the National Health Commission and the Ministry of Health of The General Logistics Department of PLA. The Center is led by Peking University Sixth Hospital and jointly organized by Peking University School of Psychology and Cognitive Science and National Institute on Drug Dependence. It aims to open up clinical practice for clinical research bottlenecks, to establish a new clinical research model based on multi-objective and multi-task research programs, to build a standardized, high-quality collaborative research network and research platform to carry out multi-center, large-scale, high-quality mental illness research to improve the comprehensive service level of prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of mental and mental diseases throughout the country, and effectively solve key clinical problems.


Department of Psychosomatic Medicine

In psychosomatic medicine, the research team has been committed to exploring the pathogenesis and intervention strategies of mental and psychological diseases including addiction, depression, and sleep disorders, and has carried out a series of systematic and original research work. First, the team put forward a new model for the intervention of pathological memory and a new concept of anti-relapse therapy for addiction, as well as proposed the ‘retrieval-extinction’ psychological paradigm for the first time which can be used to eliminate addictive memory. All of this provides new intervention pathways and theoretical basis for treating drug addiction. Second, the team discovered new targets for rapid anti-depressant and new methods for treating mental illnesses during sleep, which has important theoretical significance and application value for the prevention and treatment of mental and psychological diseases. Third, the team studied information processing of memory and its brain function mechanism in sleep state, and achieved targeted regulation of memory coding, consolidation, and emotional processing during sleep, which opens up a new paradigm of sleep-based intervention information processing. The research team has published more than 200 peer-reviewed articles in Science, JAMA Psychiatry, Nat Neurosci, Nat Commun, Biol Psychiatry, J Neurosci, Neuropsychopharma and other top journals, with over 10,000 citations. Their research achievements have been awarded the First Prize of the Scientific Research Excellence Award of Institutions of Higher Learning of the Ministry of Education (Natural Science Award), the First and Second Prizes of the Chinese Medical Science and Technology Award, the Second Prize of the National Natural Science Award, and etc.


Department of Biological Psychiatry

In biological psychiatry, the research team has explored the etiology and mechanisms of many common psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, mood disorders, dementia, and autism, using methods of molecular genetics, neurobiochemistry, neuroimaging, neurobiology, neuroelectrophysiology, and neuropsychopharmacology. They also developed novel therapy and the guidelines for clinical treatment of psychosis. The development of extract of Ginkgo biloba treatment for tardive dyskinesia in schizophrenia has enrolled the American Academy of Neurology. The genome wide association study of schizophrenia found new susceptibility genes of this disease. With supporting of the “863”, “973”, NSFC and other projects, they have published more than 100 articles in peer-review journals, which includes Nat Genet, Mol Psychiatry, Lancet Psychiatry, Am J Psychiatry, Biol Psychiatry, PNAS, Cereb Cortex, NeuroImage, etc.


Department of Social Psychiatry

In social psychiatry, the research team has invested in finding good instruments for epidemiological studies in China. The research team has completed the China Mental Health Survey (CMHS), which is the first nationally representative community survey on mental disorders and mental health services in China. They also guided and trained research staff from various provinces to conduct epidemiological studies using internationally recognized Composite International Diagnostic Interviews. In addition, the research team has completed the Chinese psychiatric disability standard, dementia screening tools, diagnostic tools for psychiatric disorders and intervention strategies for care givers of dementia patients. The department has established the network for training in suicide prevention, conducted clinical trials using rTMS, carried out community-based surveys on personality disorders and internet use, and organized intervention research on PTSD. The researches have been published in Lancet, Lancet Psychiatry, Brit J Psychiatry, Sci Rep, etc.


Department of Child Psychiatry

In pediatric psychiatry, the research team focused on the etiology and treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and conduct problems. Clinical research includes studies on autism and child schizophrenia. The department has carried out many research projects funded by the National Health Commission of China, Chinese Ministry of Education, and Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology. The team has made great contributions with respect to the etiology, clinical evaluation, and treatment in the above areas. At present, the department has the world's largest internationally standardized database of clinical and biological samples from Han children with ADHD. The research has become the largest clinical research platform for child psychiatry. The research results won the second prize of the China Medical Science and Technology Award. The team have published more than 300 peer-reviewed articles with over 100 papers published in SCI journals including Mol Psychiatry, Biol Psychiatry, J Neurosci, Neuropsychopharmacol, J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry, etc.


Department of Clinical Psychiatry

In clinical psychiatry, the research team focuses on clinical and applied research centered on various major mental disorders, clinical research on psychotropic drugs, theoretical and practical research on psychotherapy, and development and application of psychiatric behavior and neurocognitive assessment tools. The team mainly conducts clinical and applied basic research on common mental disorders such as schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease, mild cognitive impairment, senile depression, bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder. These studies include researches on biomarkers and the early treatment of geriatric psychiatric disorders, early detection and intervention of schizophrenia, treatment and intervention of alcohol dependence and eating disorders, psychological and behavioral studies on HIV/AIDS-related psychiatric disorders, as well as studies on mental health strategies and policies. At the same time, the team actively works on building a multi-center clinical research platform for major mental disorders, and creates a more stable national multi-center collaborative research network. The team members have undertaken many key research projects such as National Key Research and Development Project, The National Key Technology R&D Program, 973 program, National High Technology Research and Development Program of China (863 Program), the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Commission, and the US NIH International Cooperation. The team members have edited nearly 30 books and published more than 100 SCI papers. The representative works are published in leading international journals such as World Psychiatry, Mol Psychiatry, and Am J Psychiatry. At the same time, the research team led the development of the MATRIS Consensus Cognitive Battery (MCCB) Urban Chinese Norm, published the MCCB Chinese Norm Handbook, which provides scientific standards for the neurocognitive test of the Chinese population. The team adopted the PAD method to realize the cognitive test and obtained a national patent. It firstly created the dementia care counseling technology in China, and proposed the whole management concept of cognitive impairment. The established community dementia management and service model was adopted by the WHO West Pacific Office.


Department of Clinical Psychopharmacology

By integrating basic research and clinical resources, the clinical psychopharmacology team plays a leading role in research and development of new drugs, uncovering the pathophysiological mechanisms, and carrying out clinical research for psychiatric disorders. We have conducted a series of pioneering research on affective disorders using various approaches including advanced molecular genetics, neurobiology, psychopharmacology, and functional imaging approaches and realized the following achievements.

(1) Based on the high-validity preclinical animal models of depression, we observed disease-specific cognitive impairment phenotypes, examined in depth the neurodevelopmental processes involved in early-life stress, and identified potential therapeutic targets such as calbindin, nectin3, and CRHR1. Related results have been published in journals such as Nature Neuroscience, Neuropsychopharmacology, Cell Reports, etc. We have built a large-sample database of more than 1,500 affective disorder subjects with clinical characteristics, genetics, and neuroimaging data. By doing so, we hope to track the entire course of disease development, to identify the objective biological markers related to the diagnosis and precision medicine, and even to screen and develop new medicine targets for psychiatric disorders. Some of the results have been published in leading journals such as Human Brain Mapping and Psychological Medicine. By undertaking some key national research projects such as National Major Scientific and Technological Special Project for “Significant New Drugs Development” during the Twelfth Five-year Plan Period, the Major Research plan of the National Natural Science Foundation of China, and Key Projects in the National Science & Technology Pillar Program, we have established an innovative basic research platform with standardized ethical review for multi-center clinical research. And it has become the support platform not only for the National Clinical Research Center for Psychiatric and Mental Disorders, but also for global and national multi-center clinical research and basic research. The team members are currently undertaking a number of research projects including the National Natural Science Foundation of China (including key projects), the Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Commission's Brain Cognition and Brain Planning Project, and are leading or participating in a number of new drug development studies including phase I-IV and  researches on standardized treatments. The research team has published more than 100 SCI papers, with a total of more than a thousand citations.