Joshua Woolley, MD, PhD
|School||UCSF School of Medicine|
|Address||4150 Clement St|
San Francisco CA 94121
|University of California, San Francisco|| Residency ||2011||School of Medicine|
|University of California, San Francisco||M.D.||2007|| School of Medicine|
|University of California, San Francisco||Ph.D.||2005|| Graduate Division (Neuroscience)|
|Brown University, Providence, RI||Bachelor of Science||1999||Biology and Philosophy|
Dr. Woolley has been studying the underpinnings of social deficits in schizophrenia and has examined how oxytocin might be a useful treatment for these social deficits. People with schizophrenia often have functionally significant social cognitive deficits, and there are currently no available pharmacological treatments that target these deficits. In healthy individuals, the natural hormone oxytocin has been shown to increase social abilities such as understanding emotions and trusting people. People with schizophrenia can have difficulties with social relationships, which can impact interactions with others and community participation. Dr. Woolley believes that oxytocin may help with many of these difficulties, so a major focus of his research laboratory has been to examine whether supplementary oxytocin can increase social cognition in people with schizophrenia.
In addition, Dr. Woolley is working with Dr. Sophia Vinogradov, a leading researcher in computerized cognitive training exercises for patients with schizophrenia, to assess the feasibility of delivering cognitive training on mobile devices. More recently, Dr. Woolley has begun to use MEG methods to study brain changes in individuals with schizophrenia.
Building on his work with oxytocin and schizophrenia, Dr. Woolley collaborates with Dr. Wendy Berry Mendes and Dr. Danielle Schlosser at the University of California, San Francisco to analyze whether oxytocin can help dyadic family interactions where the child has been diagnosed with a mental illness. It can be stressful for families where one or more family members have mental illness. Family members can experience guilt, feelings of isolation, or other difficulties, and Dr. Woolley and his team hope that oxytocin can help mediate some of these emotionally challenging experiences and foster communication.
Dr. Woolley is also working closely with Dr. David Kan and Dr. Steven Batki at the San Francisco VA Medical Center's ORT Clinic, where he focuses on whether oxytocin can be a useful adjunct to methadone treatment for overcoming opiate dependence.
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