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Professor and Director of OASIS (Outreach and Support Intervention Services)



Director of OASIS


Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health – Carrboro

Education and Training:

B.S. Psychology, B.S. Biochemistry, University of Maryland
M.D., University of Maryland School of Medicine
M.P.H., Epidemiology, University of North Carolina, School of Public Health
Residency, Psychiatry, University of Maryland Hospitals
Chief Resident, Psychiatry, University of Maryland Hospitals
Residency, Psychiatry (completed PGY IV year), University of North Carolina Hospitals
Fellow, Consultation/Liaison Psychiatry, University of North Carolina Hospitals

Summary Statement:

Dr. Perkins’ research activities include psychosis risk prediction and early intervention, as well as investigations of the genetic basis of schizophrenia. She is in the last year of the NIMH 2.9 million five-year multi-site U01 grant, 5/8-Predictors and Mechanisms of Conversion to Psychosis (NAPLS). Included in this project, Dr. Perkins chairs the project workgroup on biospecimen collection. She is co-investigator on the NIMH funded Conte Mapping Project (Ayse Belger, PI), which aims to compare the brain development trajectory using MRI and electrophysiology studies of individuals at risk of psychosis due to having an affected first degree family member compared to those with no affected relative. Dr. Perkins continues to have a strong interest in developing a genetics research program. She is UNC site investigator on a multi-site NIH grant headed by Carlos Patos that will collect DNA from 10,000 schizophrenia and 10,000 unaffected subjects. In addition to contributing blood samples to the NIMH, a UNC biospecimen repository was established to store DNA, total blood RNA, plasma, and cryopreserving white blood cells. Dr. Perkins has discovered a method of culturing small pluripotent stem cells from peripheral blood. The plan is to transdifferentiate these cell lines to neuronal stem cells with the aim of studying the genetics of neurodevelopment in schizophrenia. Dr. Perkins continues to work with developing protocols to study neuronal stem cells from the olfactory epithelium and investigating microRNAs in schizophrenia.


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Diana Perkins