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$650 million commitment to Stanley Center at Broad Institute aims to galvanize mental illness research
Date:7/22/2014

d genes that are mutated in cancer and applied this knowledge to begin to invent new, targeted forms of therapy. Broad scientists have also invented powerful new tools that allow researchers to precisely manipulate the genome and measure the millions of complex chemical interactions within cells. In the spirit of the Human Genome Project, the Broad makes its genomic data freely available to researchers around the world.

The future of psychiatric research

The Stanley Center engages a community of more than 150 scientists at the Broad Institute and its partner institutions. Over the coming years, the center plans to draw on Stanley's tremendous generosity to accomplish at least four major goals:

(i) Complete the list of all genes that play roles in severe psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, autism, and others. To create a comprehensive catalog of the genetic variation that underlies mental illness, the researchers plan to expand their international network and draw in many more collaborators with new insights and capabilities. They also plan to expand their sample collection efforts dramatically – especially among understudied populations, such as those in African nations – to reveal the many as-yet-undiscovered mutations relevant to disease. As a first step, they plan to carry out comprehensive analysis of all genes that specify the protein building blocks of cells from 100,000 samples in the next two years.

(ii) Reveal the biological pathways in which these genes act. To do so, they will push technological boundaries, working with new techniques that allow them to manipulate and comprehensively measure the dynamic activity of genes in living cells, including lab-grown neurons produced by new stem-cell technologies. Their ultimate, ambitious goal: to determine where, when, and how these genes act in human brain cells, and how in psychiatric patients those process
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