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Bipolar Disorder Research Initiative Awards $15M for Brain Genetics, Omics Platforms

NEW YORK – Breakthrough Discoveries for Thriving with Bipolar Disorder, or BD2, said on Thursday that it has awarded $15 million in grant funding to two teams for creating a genetic sequencing platform and a brain-specific omics platform, respectively.

The Broad Institute; the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); and the New York Genome Center will collaborate to create the BD² Genetics Platform, which will sequence over 30,000 samples from people with bipolar disorder from Africa, Central and South America, and Asia.

The CommonMind Consortium, comprised of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, the University of Pittsburgh, and the California Institute of Technology, will launch the BD² Brain Omics Platform, a brain atlas for bipolar disorder, by analyzing cells in disorder-related brain regions from people who lived with bipolar disorder and controls.

BD2 was founded in September of last year with $150 million from three $50 million donations from Google Cofounder Sergey Brin; Roblox Founder David Baszucki and his wife, author Jan Ellison Baszucki; and Keystone Capital Chairman Kent Dauten and his wife, Liz Dauten.

The Milken Institute's Center for Strategic Philanthropy is guiding the effort, with Senior Director Cara Altimus serving as managing director for BD2.

"The organizations being awarded today are at the forefront of research in genetics and molecular psychiatry," Eric Nestler, chair of the scientific steering committee overseeing BD², said in a statement. "BD² is the driving force bringing together foundational and hypothesis-driven research in bipolar disorder. The discoveries from this research will over time enable long-sought advances in clinical care." 

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