Robert H. Yolken, M.D.
Pediatric Infectious Disease
The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Stanley Division of Developmental Neurovirology
600 N. Wolfe Street
Baltimore, MD 21287-4933
Harvard Medical School
Yale New Haven Hospital
Role of Perinatal Infections in Subsequent Brain Development
Former chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Robert H. Yolken, the Theodore and Vada Stanley Distinguished Professor of Neurovirology in Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins, chairs the Division of Pediatric Neurovirology the nation’s first pediatric research center designed to investigate links between severe mental illness (including schizophrenia and manic depressive disorders) and early childhood viral infections. He and his research colleagues speculate that a virus invades the brain and then lies dormant for years before triggering the onset of schizophrenia or manic depressive illness in adolescence and young adulthood. They are investigating as possible viral triggers herpes, influenza A and B, and the Toxoplasma gondii parasite, which is carried by cats and farm animals. They believe that in the future antiviral medications might be developed to treat or prevent schizophrenia in some individuals.
The overall goal of the research laboratory is to develop a training and research program devoted to the elucidation of the role of infection and immunity in the etiology of schizophrenia and bipolar disorders. A Interests also include elucidating the role of perinatal infections in subsequent brain development.
A professor in the Division of Pediatric Infectious Disease at Hopkins Children’s, Yolken trained at Harvard, Yale and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) before joining the Hopkins faculty in 1979.