NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — The Broad Institute today said it will use a $100-million donation to create a new center to study the genomics and chemical biology of psychiatric diseases.
The Broad said the gift came from the Stanley Medical Research Institute and will fund the creation of the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research. The funding will support 10 years of research, the Broad said.
The Stanley Center aims to discover the molecular underpinnings and causalities of the links between mental illness and genetics. It will focus on “systematic surveys” of the human genome to identify genes contributing to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and will use high-throughput chemical screening to seek new treatments.
The center will expand Broad’s Psychiatric Disease Initiative, and will be run by the initiative’s founder, Edward Scolnick.
Broad Institute director Eric Lander said psychiatric disease poses particular problems “because you can’t study it in cell culture, like cancer, or measure it with a blood test like diabetes.”
Yet Lander said these diseases “may be the most important application for genomics,” because it can “help uncover the molecular mechanisms of the disease.”