Dr. McCracken is the Joseph Campbell Professor of Child Psychiatry and Director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the UCLA NPI-Semel Institute (formerly the Neuropsychiatric Institute) in Los Angeles. Dr. McCracken is the principal investigator of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Research Center, “Translational Research to Enhance Cognitive Control,” which aims to develop and test innovative treatments for cognitive defects associated with child psychiatric illness. His other current areas of research include family-genetic studies of childhood disorders and the testing of new pharmacologic treatments for a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders in children, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and anxiety disorders.
Dr. McCracken received medical and postgraduate training at Baylor College of Medicine, Duke University, and UCLA before joining the faculty at UCLA in 1987. He is the recipient of several honors and awards, including the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Young Psychiatrist Research Award. He has published more than 150 papers in the area of child psychiatry and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology.
Dr. McCracken holds memberships in various local, national, and international professional organizations, including the APA, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, International Society for Research in Child and Adolescent Psychopathology, International Society of Psychoneuroendocrinology, and the Society for Neuroscience. He is listed in both the Best Doctors in America and America’s Top Doctors databases.
Research efforts in the Micevych laboratory involve understanding the cellular and molecular events underlying estrogen action on neurons and glial cells. Estrogen has profound effects on cognitive function and neuroprotection, as well as, reproductive functions. Estrogen affects the expression and activity of various neuropeptides and sex steroids. In particular they have focused on regulation mu-opioid and nociceptin receptors in the CNS regulation of sexual behavior. Recent experiments have demonstrated the synthesis of progesterone in the brain, its regulation by estrogen and physiologic functions of neuroprogesterone. RT-PCR and calcium imaging experiments in neurons and astrocytes have been used to elucidate the mechanisms of estrogen rapid signaling in both glial cells and neurons. The Micevych laboratory has demonstrated that estrogen can modulate nociceptive signaling through rapid actions on primary sensory neurons demonstrating a novel mechanism of estrogen modulation of pain. Additionally, the Micevych Laboratory has been studying the neuroprotective action of estrogen in the nigrostriatal dopamine system. Estrogen activates the insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) to ameliorate a hallmark of ParkinsonA?s disease A? the neurodegeneration of dopamine neurons. Significantly, estrogen or IGF-1 is efficacious after either central or peripheral administration. Together these experiments underscore the broad range of estrogen signaling influencing both physiology and pathology.