The ability to examine the dynamic process of neuronal birth, differentiation and death in neuroepithelium from individuals with psychosis could provide a powerful tool for understanding neurobiological underpinnings of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. One neurodevelopmental model system, the olfactory epithelium, is a neuroepithelium analogous to that of the neural tube from which the brain develops in the embryo, is instructive in that regard. This tissue is a well-established model for molecular factors and genes that regulate neurogenesis. It is informative because it undergoes continual regeneration, and many of the elements of neuronal cell lineage, migration and survival are regulated by the same growth factors that act on the developing brain. Through an understanding of the basic biology of the developmental processes operating in the olfactory epithelium, this work demonstrates its utility to directly assess factors affecting neurodevelopment and the dysfunction of specific metabolic pathways at both the cellular and molecular level in psychiatric illness. The olfactory neuroepithelium is a useful model for investigating molecular and cellular aspects of neurogenesis.