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Contacts: Peter Genzer, (631) 344-3174  |  Written by Diane Greenbergprinter iconPrint

Martine M. Mirrione, a guest researcher at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory and a postdoctoral fellow at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, has been awarded a National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD)Young Investigator Grant. She will test a potential new target for deep brain stimulation (DBS), a therapy for severely depressed, treatment-resistant patients in which electrodes are implanted in the brain. Mirrione and colleagues have tested this strategy in an animal model and have shown remission in the first severely depressed patient tested with DBS, targeting a strategic brain region called the lateral habenula. They will examine this target’s potential to modulate pathological brain activity associated with depressive-like behavior in lab animals. NARSAD issued the following news release.

NARSAD Announces More Than $12.6 Million in Funding for a New Generation of Brain and Behavior Research

(GREAT NECK, N.Y. — JANUARY 6, 2011) NARSAD: The Brain and Behavior Research Fund awards $12.6 million in new research grants, strengthening its investment in the most promising ideas to lead to breakthroughs in understanding and treating mental illness. Two-hundred fourteen brilliant researchers from leading research institutions on six continents have been selected from more than 1,000 applicants to receive Young Investigator grant awards to support their innovative research. Since 1987 NARSAD has been leading the development of the mental health research field and has awarded more than $274 million in 4,046 grants to 3,319 scientists around the world.

Young Investigators represent a new generation of researchers who will pioneer breakthroughs in mental health research. Young Investigator grants are catalysts for additional funding, providing researchers with “proof of concept” for their work. On average, NARSAD Young Investigators have used their grants to leverage an additional 19 times their original grant amount and some have gone on to receive much more than that after proving initial hypotheses with the first NARSAD grant support. Receiving up to $60,000 over two years, Young Investigators pursue brain and behavior research related to schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, autism ADHD, and anxiety disorders, such as OCD and PTSD.

The 124-member NARSAD Scientific Council, a volunteer group of preeminent mental health researchers leads the rigorous and competitive process of identifying the most promising ideas for NARSAD to fund in grant awards each year. The Young Investigator selection process was led by Scientific Council member Dr. Herbert Meltzer of Vanderbilt University, a founding member of the council.

“Experience has demonstrated that support for the NARSAD Young Investigator program is the most effective way to further the massive effort needed to conquer the mental disorders that plague humanity,” Dr. Meltzer said. “This is especially important now because of the reduced ability of governments, industry, and academic medical centers to fund research and treatment programs.”

“The Young Investigator program is a hallmark of NARSAD grants, funding the research of young scientists on the quest to find breakthroughs in the field of mental health,” said Benita Shobe, NARSAD president and CEO. “This body of research represents the cutting-edge of brain and behavior research. Young Investigators are selected for their innovation and potential to improve the lives of people living with mental illness through enhanced treatments and therapies and a better understanding of the causes of mental illness.”

NARSAD is committed to alleviating the suffering of mental illness by awarding grants that will lead to breakthroughs in scientific research. One hundred percent of all donor contributions are invested in NARSAD grants leading to discoveries in understanding causes and improving treatments of disorders in children and adults, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and anxiety disorders like obsessive-compulsive and post-traumatic stress disorders.

See the NARSAD website for a complete list of Young Investigators and their research.

2011-1227  |  Media & Communications Office

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