May 17, 2007

NARSAD Announces 245 New Grants for Neuropsychiatric Research

Read more... Schizophrenia Biology

NARSAD: The Mental Health Research Association announced this week that they had just completed awarding 23 Distinguished Investigator grants and 222 Young Investigator reearch grants for 2007. The awards, which represent more than $15 million in new grantmaking, will be used to support brain and behavioral research that offers the potential of breakthrough findings on serious mental illnesses. To see the new research into schizophrenia that will be supported with these grants, scroll down to the list of interesting studies.

NARSAD is the world’s largest donor-supported charity dedicated to funding innovative scientific research on psychiatric disorders of the entire life cycle, from childhood onward. Since it began in 1987 as the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, NARSAD has awarded $215 million in grants to 2,477 scientists. With its annual Independent Investigator awards still to be announced this summer, 2007 will be a record year of grantmaking for the organization. You can learn more about donating to NARSAD by visiting this link.

Recipients of the 2007 Distinguished Investigator and Young Investigator grants come from a full range of scholarly approaches in psychiatry, neurology, psychology and many other areas of medical and biological research. Their research will cover important themes of contemporary medical research in the major disease areas of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, substance abuse and many other adult and childhood disorders. The investigators will make use of the most powerful research tools available, including genetics and advanced imaging technologies.

NARSAD’s grant recipients are selected on the basis of the excellence and originality of their work and without regard to their institution of origin or discipline by members of the organization’s Scientific Council, a volunteer group of 94 distinguished leaders in the field of neuropsychiatric research.

The 23 Distinguished Investigator grants awarded this year (a complete list can be found at the end of this document) will support urgent research by experienced and highly accomplished scientists from leading institutions. The program offers one-year grants of $100,000, and fills an increasingly important niche in mental-health grant-giving. NARSAD Distinguished Investigators work at the cutting edge of their fields, and find in NARSAD an organization willing to support projects of great potential reward and above-average risk.

Jack Barchas, M.D., chairman of the department of psychiatry at Weill Medical College of Cornell University and chair of the committee that selects NARSAD’s Distinguished Investigators, said: “These awards represent one of the few mechanisms for encouraging new and creative approaches at their earliest stage.” According to Dr. Barchas, the research supported by these grants often represents “a leap of ideas” and tends to “have enormous potential for yielding profound results that can lead to new approaches to treatment for serious mental illnesses.”

This year’s grant awardees will use their NARSAD grants for the following studies related to schizophrenia:

Nancy C. Andreasen, M.D., Andrew H. Woods Chair of Psychiatry and Director of the Mental Health Clinical Research Center at the University of Iowa, will use her grant to further her neural-level study of the relationship between creativity and mental illness.

David Braff, M.D., a professor of psychiatry and the director of the Schizophrenia Program of the University of California, San Diego, will advance a project he has launched to understand the complex genetic makeup of different measurable characteristics of schizophrenia, as well as explore the genetic basis of functional impairments associated with the illness.

Cameron S. Carter, M.D., of who is a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of California, Davis, and director of the UC Davis Imaging Research Center will advance his project on electrophysiological activity in the brain that is associated with cognitive dysfunction in people with schizophrenia.

Ruben C. Gur, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, will advance his study of behavioral characteristics related to schizophrenia.

Matti Isohanni, M.D., M.Sc.P.H., chairman and professor of psychiatry at the University of Oulu in Finland, will advance his project on brain markers of midlife schizophrenia.

Jeffrey A. Lieberman, M.D., director of the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Lawrence E. Kolb Chairman of Psychiatry at Columbia University’s College of Physician and Surgeons, will determine if an experimental medicine called AL-108, when administered in addition to antipsychotic drugs, enhances cognition in patients with schizophrenia.

Dolores Malaspina, M.D., M.Sc.P.H., chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at New York University Medical Center, will advance her study of whether in utero stress is related to later serious forms of mental illness.

Robert C. Malenka, M.D., Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine, will advance his study of alterations in the dopamine system in a brain region implicated in depression, schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Russell L. Margolis, M.D., a professor of psychiatry and neurology at Johns Hopkins University and director of the university’s Laboratory of Genetic Neurobiology and its Neurogenic Testing Laboratory, will advance his project on genomic copy number variation in schizophrenia.

Herbert Y. Meltzer, M.D., who is Division Director of Psychopharmacology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, will advance his work in identifying candidate genes associated with schizophrenia.

Lorna Role, Ph.D., a professor of anatomy and cell biology at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, will further her project on the relationship of a gene called Nrg1 to schizophrenia.

Nelson Spruston, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Neurobiology and Physiology of Northwestern University, will further his project to identify how specific nerve cells are altered in a part of a part of the brain implicated in schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders.

J. David Sweatt, Ph.D., chairman of the Department of Neurobiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, will advance his project on how changes in gene expression are related to changes in behaviors observed in schizophrenia and depression.

David Valle, M.D., a professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University and director of the university’s Institute of Genetic Medicine and its Center for Inherited Disease Research, will advance his project on the identification and characterization of schizophrenia susceptibility genes.

A list of NARSAD’s 2007 Young Investigators and summaries of their research projects can be found here.

More information: NARSAD - The Mental Health Research Association


lol. I'm glad my $20 came in so helpful.

Posted by: Todd at May 19, 2007 11:11 AM

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