Contact Information

T: (619) 471-0497
F: (619) 543-2493


Dr. Young received his BSc. (Hons) in Psychology with Biology and his Ph.D. in Psychopharmacology in the Department of Neuroscience, at the University of Edinburgh, sponsored by the Fujisawa Institute for Neuroscience in Edinburgh. He worked for a year at Organon Laboratories in Scotland prior to his arrival at UCSD to conduct his Post-Doctoral training in 2006. This training was primarily with Profs. Mark Geyer and Dilip Jeste at the Consortium for Translational Research in Neuropsychopharmacology (, MIRECC San Diego VA (, and the Stein Institute for Research on Aging ( respectively. Dr. Young became a Faculty member in 2009.

Research Interests

Research Focus

Dr. Young investigates the molecular biology and neural circuitry underlying behavioral abnormalities occurring in major neuropsychiatric disorders. Debilitating forms of mental illness are prevalent but treatment options for these disorders remain limited. For example, despite the fact that cognitive deficits are a major determinant of impaired function in these patients, there are no approved treatments. Despite molecular and genetic advances, treatment development has not kept pace. One major roadblock for treatment development has been the scarcity of effective cross-species models. Dr. Young uses cutting-edge neuroscience to develop novel and sophisticated cross-species models to identify targetable mechanisms to treat mental illnesses.

Clinical and Teaching Focus

In order to examine the molecular biology and neural circuitry underlying behavioral abnormalities occurring in major neuropsychiatric disorders, we characterize such abnormalities using reverse-translated paradigms. For example, using the human 5-choice continuous performance task (originally developed for mice), we have characterized EEG and fMRI abnormalities that occur in patients with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, the impact smoking, and smoking cessation, has on attentive properties. By identifying neural mechanisms in patients and healthy subjects, these mechanisms can then be investigated in greater depth using the corresponding animal models.


  • Young, JW, Geyer, MA, Rissling, AJ, Sharp, RF, Eyler, LT, Asgaard, G, and Light, GA (2013). Reverse translation of the rodent 5C-CPT reveals that the impaired attention of people with schizophrenia is similar to scopolamine-induced deficits in mice. Translational Psychiatry. 3:e324.
  • Young, JW, Meves, JM, and Geyer, MA (2013). Nicotinic agonist-induced improvement of vigilance in mice in the 5-choice continuous performance test. Behavioral Brain Research. 240: 119-133.
  • van Enkhuizen, J, Geyer, MA, Kooistra, K, and Young, JW, (2013). Chronic valproate attenuates some, but not all, facets of mania-like behavior in mice. International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology. 16(5): 1021-1031
  • Young, JW, Minassian, A, Geyer, MA, Paulus, MP, and Perry, W, (2007). Human behavioral pattern monitor – a reverse translational approach to bipolar disorder. Neuroscience Biobehavioral Reviews. 31: 882-896.
  • Young, JW, Meves, J, Tarantino, IS, Caldwell, S, and Geyer, MA, (2011). Delayed procedural learning in alpha 7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor knockout mice. Genes, Brain and Behaviour. 10(7): 720-733.
  • van Enkhuizen, J, Henry, BL, Minassian, A, Perry, W, Milliene-Petiot, M, Higa, K, Geyer, MA, and Young, JW (accepted). Reduced dopamine transporter functioning induces high-reward risk-preference consistent with bipolar disorder. Neuropsychopharmacology
  • Acheson, DT, Twamley, EW, and Young, JW (2013). Reward learning as a potential target for pharmacological augmentation of cognitive remediation for schizophrenia: A roadmap for preclinical development. Frontiers in Neuroscience. 7:103. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2013.00103
  • Young, JW, Jentsch, DJ, Bussey, TB, Wallace, T, and Hutcheson, D (2013). Consideration of species differences in developing novel molecules as cognition enhancers. Neuroscience Biobehavioral Reviews. 37(9): 2181-2193.
  • Amitai, N, Weber, M, Swerdlow, NR, Sharp, RF, Breier, MR, Halberstadt, AL, and Young, JW, (2013). A novel visuospatial priming task for rats with relevance to Tourette syndrome: evidence for rate-dependent effects of amphetamine. Neuroscience Biobehavioral Reviews. 37(6): 1139-1149
  • Young, JW, Henry, BL, and Geyer, MA, (2011). Predictive validity of animal models of mania: hits, misses, and future directions. British Journal of Pharmacology, 164(4): 1263-1284.
  • Tarantino, IS, Sharp, RF, Geyer, MA, Meves, JM, and Young, JW, (2011). Working memory span capacity improved by a D2 but not a D1 family agonist. Brain & Behavioural Research. 219(2): 181-188.
  • Young, JW and Geyer, MA, (2010). Action of modafinil – increased motivation via dopamine transporter inhibition and D1 receptors? Biological Psychiatry. 67(8): 784-787.
  • Young, JW, Powell, SB, Geyer, MA, Jeste, DV, and Risbrough, V, (2010). Mice performing the attentional set-shifting task: evidence of successful cognitive aging? Cognitive and Affective Behavioral Neuroscience. 10(2): 243-251.
  • Young, JW, Risbrough, V, Powell, Marston, HM, and Geyer, MA, (2009). Using the MATRICS to guide development of a preclinical cognitive test battery for research in schizophrenia. Pharmacology & Therapeutics. 122(2):150-202.
  • Young, JW, Light, GA, Sharp, R, and Geyer, MA, (2009). Development of the rodent continuous performance test: Implications for drug discovery. PLoS ONE 4(1): e4227. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0004227