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USC researchers head global effort to study genetic risks that contribute to psychiatric diseases
Date:12/3/2008

A multi-institution team of investigators led by researchers at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) has received $19 million in funding from the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) for a groundbreaking effort to collect genetic information on tens of thousands of patients in order to study the genetic risks for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

The USC Center for Genomic Psychiatry and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) together received more than $25 million in grant funding to lead an international network of academic medical centers in creating the Genomic Psychiatry Cohort. Blood and DNA from 40,000 subjects will be deposited in the NIMH repository, along with clinical and phenotypic data.

Professors Michele T. Pato, M.D., holder of the Della Martin Chair in Psychiatry, and Carlos N. Pato, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Franz Alexander Professor of Psychiatry at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, will head the national effort to collect data on 10,000 patients with schizophrenia, as well as 10,000 individuals without the disorder. They will study 5,000 patients with bipolar disorder as part of a coordinated effort led by MGH investigators, Jordan Smoller, M.D., Sc.D., and Pamela Sklar, M.D., Ph.D., to collect an additional 19,000 patients with bipolar disorder.

The cohort will be the largest coordinated effort ever undertaken to understand the underlying genetic risks for these illnesses, says Carlos Pato, who also directs the Center for Genomic Psychiatry at the Keck School of Medicine.

"Our focus is on both determining genetic risks for serious mental illnesses and in developing a new model of care for these diseases," he says. "This will be the major national effort in this area for the next five years. We expect a number of important studies to result from this effort."

USC researchers will not only conduct
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Contact: Meghan Lewit
lewit@usc.edu
323-442-3941
University of Southern California
Source:Eurekalert

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