NARSAD Awards 141 Psychiatric Research Grants ($8.5 Million) for 1997

The National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD) announced today that it has committed $8.5 million to fund 141 psychiatric research grants for 1997. The money, donated by people with mental illness, their families, friends and colleagues, will be given to 10 established researchers and 131 young researchers who will conduct studies to improve our understanding and treatment of severe mental illnesses.

"NARSAD's supporters believe that research provides the only hope for those suffering from serious mental illnesses, like schizophrenia and depression," says Constance E. Lieber, President of NARSAD's Board of Directors. "In eleven years, NARSAD has made significant contributions to psychiatric research. This year's grants represent the brightest scientists and the most promising studies in mental illness research."

NARSAD is the largest publicly supported, nongovernmental funder of psychiatric research in the nation. Since its inception in 1987, NARSAD has provided 1,378 grants to 739 scientists in 117 universities and medical research institutions for a total of $51.5 million. "Research is increasing our understanding of the human brain and its disorders, and is bringing us ever closer to breakthroughs in treatments," says Steven E. Hyman, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health. "In these days of constrained federal budgets, NARSAD's support is very important." The 1997 grants include funding for major projects led by prominent scientific leaders, including: William E. Bunney, M.D. at the University of California-Irvine, Heidi E. Hamm, Ph.D. at Northwestern University, K. Ranga Rama Krishnan, M.D. at Duke University, Thomas H. McGlashnan, M.D. at Yale University, and Rachael Neve, Ph.D. at Harvard University.

In addition to funding some of the best established scientists in the field of psychiatric research, NARSAD will be supporting more young researchers in 1997 than ever before. "NARSAD helps launch the careers of an outstanding group of talented young investigators chosen for their innovation and creativity in their approach to research," says Herbert Pardes, M.D., president of NARSAD's Scientific Council, and Professor and Chairman of Psychiatry at Columbia University. "We expect that these investigators will play key roles in solving the problems of cause, treatment and prevention of mental illness."

NARSAD's 1997 grants will explore a wide variety of psychiatric illnesses, including schizophrenia, depression, manic depression, panic disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. The studies reflect the complexity of today's brain research and represent a broad range of research disciplines, including psychiatry, pharmacology, neurology, genetics and psychology. Research topics include: basic science studies, such as the effect of genes on brain development and function, and the role of early developmental insults on the brain; clinical studies, such as medication treatment and relapse; studies of pathogenesis, such as the role of immune factors, studies of pathophysiology, such as brain imaging; neuropsychology; and clinical genetics.

The NARSAD grant awardees represent major medical research centers and universities in the United States, Canada, Israel and Sweden. In the United States, the largest number of grants for 1997 was awarded to researchers at Harvard University (15), Yale University (13), Columbia University (9), Vanderbilt University (7) and various units of the University of California (13). In Canada, grants were awarded to the University of Toronto, McGill University, the University of Ottawa and the University of British Columbia. Grants funded in Israel were at the Hadassah-Hebrew University and Herzog Hospital, and in Sweden, at the Karolinska Institute. "Our grants are given without regard to country, since genius, research excellence, scientific innovation and human suffering know no national or racial boundaries," says Mrs. Lieber. The 1997 awardees were selected from an applicant pool of almost 600 by NARSAD's Scientific Council, consisting of 48 scientists and academic leaders in all phases of neurobiological and psychiatric research.

SOURCE National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression

CONTACT: Anne Olshan, 516-628-8169, or Anne Brown, 516-829-0091, both of the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression

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