Neethi's focus was on Schizophrenia and in particular on the Parvalbumin expressing Basket (axo-somatic) and Chandelier (axo-axonal) interneurons that are fast spiking and impact Gamma synchrony. Both the number of GABAergic interneurons and the expression of GABA decreases with Schizophrenia. There is reduced spine density as well as reduction in the dendritic arborization. In Basket cells, there is reduced expression of Parvalbumin, GAD67 (an isoform of the enzyme that synthesizes GABA) and GAT (the transporter).
She explored the neurodevelopmental hypothesis and genetic predisposition to Schizophrenia via Receptor-Tyrosine protein kinase ERBB4 (expressed embryonically and postnatally), Neuregulin1 (NRG1, a chemoattractant) and DISC1 (a scaffolding protein).
Since the GABAergic interneurons sculpt the firing pattern of the pyramidal neurons, dysfunction of these interneurons disrupts the excitatory-inhibitory balance. Gamma synchrony is said to be important in working memory and executive functions and irregularities here probably lead to corresponding cognitive deficits that are the distinctive feature of Schizophrenia.