March 29, 2007

Lieber Family Funds $9.2 Million Expansion in Schizophrenia Research at Columbia U.

Every once in a rare period a person or family gets deeply involved in a humanitarian cause and truly pushes the boundaries forward for research and treatments that would otherwise have not happened; and thereby making a vast difference in the lives of what could ultimately be millions of people. Such is the case with the Lieber family, who this week gave $9.2 million to Columbia University or expansion of the Lieber Center for Schizophrenia Research. The Lieber family is also a key sponsor, and manager, of NARSAD - the leading non-profit schizophrenia research foundation.

Following is the text from a Columbia University press release that we hope will serve as a valuable example to other families out there to help in the ongoing challenge of finding better treatments (and ultimately a cure) for schizophrenia. While most of us cannot donate millions of dollars towards schizophrenia research - anything that we can do helps.

The Columbia University Medical Center announced this week the expansion of its Lieber Center for Schizophrenia Research and the launch of a new comprehensive psychiatric care clinic at its East 60th Street location, all made possible through a $9.2 million gift from Stephen and Constance Lieber and the Essel Foundation.

This generous gift will enable physician-scientists at the Lieber Center at Columbia and the New York State Psychiatric Institute to continue to pursue research into the genetics of neurodevelopmental disorders such as schizophrenia and autism, and to use their discoveries in the development of new therapeutic agents. The center will focus the efforts of multidisciplinary faculty at Columbia including Nobel Prize winners Eric Kandel, M.D., and Richard Axel, M.D. It also will fund a Translational Therapeutics Professorship and serve as a foundational gift for further fundraising to expand the scope of the center's research programs.

"To conduct the kind of research that will improve treatment options and quality of life, you need a coordinated effort that forges collaboration between world-class basic scientists and clinical researchers who are on the frontlines of patient care," said Stephen Lieber, a prominent New York investment banker. "We see this at Columbia and we are looking forward to seeing novel treatments as a result."

"This expansion of the Lieber Center will enable our research advances to be translated swiftly into clinical care for patients with mental illness," said Jeffrey A. Lieberman, M.D., chair of the Department of Psychiatry at CUMC and NYSPI, and director of the Lieber Center, which he believes will be a model for the future of psychiatric centers. "This will be a true 'jewel in the crown,' with a world-class, strategically-focused research program, coupled with comprehensive, state-of-the-art clinical services."

The center was established in 1999 as a modern scientific multidisciplinary schizophrenia research program. The Liebers' funding helped establish the center's infrastructure and helped leverage millions of additional National Institutes of Health support. Center investigators have successfully competed for grants from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD).

For more information visit the Lieber Center for Schizophrenia Research.

New Lieber Psychiatric Care Clinic to Open on Manhattan's East Side

The newly-launched Lieber Clinic for Comprehensive Care, operating out of Columbia's East 60th Street location, will provide the newest methods of diagnostics and therapeutics in the context of comprehensive care for patients suffering from schizophrenia and their families. Care will include the latest in both medication and rehabilitation therapies.

"Disorders of brain development, such as schizophrenia, affect more than 4 million Americans and are among the most vexing and tragic," said Lee Goldman, M.D., executive vice president for health and biomedical sciences and dean of the faculties of health sciences and medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. "Our goal is to make the Lieber Clinic the very best in the world and the prime destination for anyone who has serious mental illness. Thanks to the Liebers' generosity, which will enable our talented scientists to bring new treatments to people afflicted with these devastating disorders, Columbia is well on the way to achieving this goal."


For more information on the Lieber research and clinical programs, please call 212-543-5300.


Please give a great big thank you to the Leiber family for their generosity. My son suffers from schizophrenia and it's painful to see him and others endure such a horrible thing. generally, people do not understand mental illness and treat such people with mental illness as weirdos or just get a job they say. He has no friends, cant even buy one for him. But, he is very intelligent and desires to attend Belmont College here in Nashville, he says he wants a job that requires "solving problems". I pray he will be able to attend college and be sociable. Some say he's weird, others say he's dumb, kick him out they say, but, I say he is my son.It is difficult for the entire family. I myself have lupus and have had 7 bypasses, I'm 49 yrs. old, my husband has been my sons stepfather (actually father, his father is really not in his life)for 23 yrs. and I thank God for giving my husband, my daughter and myself the grace to continue to love my son even though we do have discouraging times. sometime we laugh, mostly we cry. so thanks again for caring for those whom so many people regard as outcasts and not worth anything. May God richly bless you for this beautiful act of love of giving to benefit these who so need it.

Posted by: phillis mullennex at April 14, 2007 09:44 PM

Thank you for all the contributions you have made in the research for a cure for schizophrenia. I have a 31 year old son who is one of the most amazing people I know. I say this because of all the obstacles he has overcome and is now working hard at living a healthy lifestyle. He has a message of hope to share with people with schizophrenia and their loved ones. I also have two daughters who have been a tremendous support in ensuring that their brother receive the assistance he needed from our health care system; it has been an arduous journey. My older daughter has written a manuscript for an animated documentary of Edward's struggle with schizophrenia. It is described on the web site, We are needing more funds to complete the project. Please check out our site; we welcome any feedback you are able to give.
I wish you all the best as you continue to assist people with schizophrenia as well as provide hope for their families.


Posted by: Bea Weatherly at December 18, 2007 10:38 PM

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