Susan B. Powell, Ph.D.  

Assistant Adjunct Professor


Contact Information

T: (619) 471-9358
F: (619) 543-2493


Dr. Powell received her BA degree with honors in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her PhD in Psychobiology in 1999 from the University of Florida with support from an NIMH Predoctoral NRSA fellowship. She completed her postdoctoral training in psychopharmacology in the UCSD Psychiatry Department and was then appointed as an Assistant Project Scientist in 2003. Dr. Powell has been an Assistant Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry since 2007, and has been the principal investigator on research awards from NIMH and NARSAD.

Research Interests

Research Focus

Dr. Powell’s research broadly involves the behavioral effects of alterations in monoamine neurochemistry. She has been primarily studying the effects of early developmental manipulations on behavioral and neurobiological measures in rodents. In addition to research on the psychopharmacology and neurocircuitry of prepulse inhibition in rodents, Dr. Powell’s research explores possible prophylactic antipsychotic treatments in neurodevelopmental rodent models. Her research also involves basic studies on the behavioral effects of hallucinogens in rodents with the hope that these models will inform us about psychosis in humans.

Clinical Focus

The goal of the preclinical work is to develop new therapies for individuals with schizophrenia. Dr. Powell has partnered with local biotechnology companies to provide in vivo testing of putative therapeutic compounds for schizophrenia. By focusing on animal models of the developmental aspects of schizophrenia, it is to develop treatments for psychosis early in the course of the disease.


  • Powell, S.B., Geyer, M.A., Preece, M.A., Pitcher, L.K., Reynolds, G.P., Swerdlow, N.R. (2003) Dopamine depletion of the nucleus accumbens reverses isolation induced deficits in prepulse inhibition in rats. Neuroscience, 119:233-240.
  • Powell, S.B., Lehmann-Masten, V.D., Paulus, M.P., Gainetdinov, R.R., Caron, M.G., Geyer, M.A. (2004) MDMA “ecstasy” alters the hyperactive and perseverative behaviors in dopamine transporter knockout mice. Psychopharmacology, 173(3-4):310-317.
  • Powell SB, Geyer, MA. (2007) Overview on Rodent Models of Schizophrenia (Unit 9.24). In Current Protocols in Neuroscience, (J.N. Crawley and P. Skolnick, eds), John Wiley & Sons.
  • Powell SB, Young JW, Ong JC, Caron MG, Geyer MA. (2008) Atypical antipsychotics clozapine and quetiapine attenuate prepulse inhibition deficits in dopamine transporter knockout mice. Behavioural Pharmacology, 19(5-6):562-565.
  • Halberstadt AL, van der Heijden I, Risbrough VB, Gingrich JA, Geyer MA, Powell SB. 5-HT2A and 5-HT2C receptors exert opposing effects on locomotor activity in mice. Neuropsychopharmacology, in press.