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UCL and Max Planck Society invest €5m to open world first computational psychiatry center
Date:4/1/2014

The world's first centre for computational psychiatry opens today (Tuesday 1st April), following a 5m investment from the Max Planck Society and UCL to be spent over the next 5 years.

The Max Planck UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research will develop computational methods to understand how human cognition works and how it becomes disrupted in psychiatric disorders such as depression and how it changes with normal cognitive ageing.

Computational approaches aim to bridge the gap between neuroscience and the phenomena seen in psychiatric disorders by developing models of how the brain works. The models will then be linked to measurements of behaviour and changes in brain function. This will help to identify the causes of a range of mental health problems so that personalised treatments can be developed.

The Centre will be based between UCL (University College London) and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin. It will be led by Professor Ray Dolan FRS, Director at the UCL Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging and Professor Ulman Lindenberger, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development.

Professor Ray Dolan FRS said: "The Centre aspires to spearhead new perspectives on psychiatric disorders that will realise major benefits for patients within 5-10 years. One focus will be rethinking the very nature of psychiatric disorders by moving from simply describing them to understanding how they develop. In diseases such as cancer, understanding how different processes give rise to the disease has opened up exciting new personalised treatment strategies. The Centre will aim to do the same for psychiatric diseases. For example, many people think of depression as a single disorder but this umbrella term is likely to cover a number of distinct processes that could be better-treated with personalised therapies."

Professor Ulman Lindenberger said: "In most countries of the world,
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Contact: Harry Dayantis
h.dayantis@ucl.ac.uk
44-020-310-83844
University College London
Source:Eurekalert

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