Navigation Links
UCLA receives $22.5 million to explore the fundamental biology of mental disorders
Date:9/7/2007

The National Institutes of Health has awarded $22.5 million to a team of scientists centered at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA to fund the Consortium for Neuropsychiatric Phenomics (CNP), an interdisciplinary, campuswide effort to understand the biology underlying a variety of mental disorders.

Phenomics is the study of an organisms full complement of phenotypes those manifest characteristics, ranging from single proteins to anatomical traits and complex behaviors, that result from the organisms genetic makeup and environment, said Robert Bilder, UCLA professor of psychiatry and director of the new consortium. Understanding an organisms phenotype is the next logical step following the recent decoding the human genome. That decoding effort, which discerned the DNA sequences that form the basic instructions for biological processes, was designed to enable the identification of genetic variations responsible for the major diseases that plague humankind.

Phenomics takes a more holistic viewpoint, Bilder said. To understand how these genetic variations are associated with disease now requires the decoding of the human phenome, the sum of the physical and behavioral manifestations of those genetic variations and how they interact with the environment.

Understanding the fundamental biological bases of neuropsychiatric disease from the molecule to the mind is an enormous challenge and will offer a grand challenge to biomedical research for the rest of the century, he said.

Currently, psychiatrists do not possess the types of laboratory tests or biological models that can be useful in studying these disorders, Bilder said.

The diagnostic systems we have in place are widely acknowledged to be flawed, because the phenotypes we have are not based on research but are descriptive, he said. That is, they are based on symptoms we usually learned about, ironically, from asking patients who have disorders that make communication difficult.

We so far lack markers to identify more fundamental deficits, he said. We need to drill down and get closer to the specific level where a gene might be responsible for the process.

That is the goal of the consortium, which will target the behavioral and cognitive functions thought to underlie such neuropsychiatric syndromes as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

In a departure from science-as-usual, the consortium will aim to discover the underpinnings of basic, healthy functioning systems such as memory and impulse control rather than concentrating on the genetic anomalies that may be associated with the neuropsychiatric disorders themselves. By focusing on these healthy brain systems, the researchers hope to accelerate the discovery of genes that are relevant to mental disorders and to find new treatments.

Employing a broad approach to attacking this problem, the consortium team comprises 52 investigators, many affiliated with the Semel Institute but cutting widely across campus disciplines as well, with members from the fields of psychiatry, neurology, neurobiology, human genetics, psychology and computer science collaborating and sharing data. Subawards will support research in Finland (at the universities of Helsinki and Oulu), at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and at the Medical University of South Carolina.

This interdisciplinary approach is a major goal of the consortium, which is one of nine nationwide being funded by the NIHs Roadmap for Medical Research program. The Roadmap program is designed not only to address health challenges that have been resistant to traditional research approaches but to fundamentally change how research is conducted, by integrating a wide range of disciplines to attack a problem. As opposed to multidisciplinary research, which involves teams of scientists approaching a problem from within their own disciplines, interdisciplinary research integrates elements from a wide range of disciplines, often including basic and clinical research, behavioral biology, and social sciences, so that all of the scientists may approach the problem in a new way.

The interdisciplinary research programs within the Roadmap embody a central goal of this program to help transform the way research is conducted, said Dr. Elias A. Zerhouni, NIH director. These programs are designed to encourage and enable change in academic research culture to make interdisciplinary research easier to conduct for scientists who wish to collaborate in unconventional ways.

Our team is thrilled to have this opportunity to forge a unique path in neuropsychiatry research, Bilder said. Many scientists and clinicians already acknowledge major limitations in the current system for diagnosing and treating patients. We believe the CNP strategy strongly complements existing approaches and offers new hope for discovery.


'/>"/>

Contact: Mark Wheeler
mwheeler@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2265
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Infant receives first bloodless liver transplant
2. Fifth US Patient Receives Artificial Heart
3. Northfield Labs Receives FDA Comments
4. British MPs Say Prostate Cancer Receives Low Priority in the NHS
5. Abbott Receives CE Mark Certification
6. Zactima Receives Fast Track Designation By The FDA
7. East London Receives World Class New Private Hospital Facility
8. Brinda Karat Receives Legal Notice over Ramdev Issue
9. Quake-Hit Pakistan Receives 30 Field Hospitals From Cuba
10. Medtronic’s Insulin Pump Receives Regulatory Approva
11. Aurobindo Receives Approval from USFDA for anti-AIDS drug
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/9/2016)... PA (PRWEB) , ... December 09, 2016 , ... "I ... Fla. "I used this old family recipe, which is meant to relieve gout and ... it gave me a 12-hour energy boost every time. It relieved what VA doctors ...
(Date:12/9/2016)... ... December 09, 2016 , ... The Holy ... in New York, NY, on December 3rd, to benefit Holy Name Medical Center's ... annual event, which raised over $1 million - the largest event in the ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... The Florida Hospital ... and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS), the leading authority in hyperbaric medicine. This accreditation ... a few hospitals and facilities have earned this distinction. This is the second ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... Mirixa Corporation ... adherence, and other pharmacist-delivered patient care services, has announced the promotions of Karen ... to vice president of sales. , Litsinger joined Mirixa in 2008 after ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... SunView ... customers and employees that are both engaging and easy to use. Coming off ... the software company revealed today its plans to roll out new AI-powered self-service ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/9/2016)... Fla. , Dec. 9, 2016  Harmar Mobility, LLC announced ... and a member of the Board of Directors. Photo ... ... Mr. Dawson,s ... development of organizations across a variety of industries. He brings to ...
(Date:12/9/2016)... -- Research and Markets has announced the addition of ... offering. ... global travel vaccines market to grow at a CAGR of 6.83% ... scenario and the growth prospects of the global travel vaccines market ... revenue generated from the sales of various vaccines administered to actively ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... -- IRIDEX Corporation (NASDAQ: IRIX ) today announced ... stock, $0.01 par value (the "Offering" with such shares being ... terms of the Offering will depend on market and other ... no assurance as to whether or when the Offering may ... proceeds it will receive from this offering for working capital ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: