Misc

9 07, 2018

Deep Phenotyping of Behavioral Patterns Associated with Neuropsychiatric Disease | Stuber | $162,000

Deep Phenotyping of Behavioral Patterns Associated with Neuropsychiatric Disease Award: $162,000 Need/Problem: Why have advances in our understanding and treatment of mental illness lagged behind that of other biomedical conditions? To a large extent, this difference stems from the fundamental issue of diagnosis. For mental illness, diagnosis still relies exclusively on checklists of signs and symptoms, derived from observation by the clinician and self-reports from the patient. While this is critical, we can dramatically improve mental health diagnosis and treatment by fully integrating genetic, physiological, and neurocircuit information.  Much of these data rely heavily on preclinical experiments where studying genetic or neurocircuit underpinnings of mental illness. However, in preclinical models there is a clear lack of behavioral readouts that can be 1) associated with a particular psychiatric condition, and 2) clearly linked to back to molecular or circuit mechanisms. [...]

9 07, 2018

Longitudinal Assessment of Mental Health Needs of Parents with Advanced Cancer | Park | $39,000

Longitudinal Assessment of Mental Health Needs of Parents with Advanced Cancer Award: $39,000 Need/Problem: Parents with advanced cancer experience unique psychological concerns due to simultaneously raising and supporting their children while adjusting to the physical and psychological effects of life-limiting illness. Their children are at increased risk of long-term psychological effects from parental cancer and early parental loss and their caregivers or partners suffer from high rates of depression and anxiety. Grant Summary:  We plan to conduct a mixed-methods, cohort study of parents with advanced cancer who have dependent-age children using semi-structured interviews and six validated measures to examine parental concerns, coping strategies to alleviate these concerns, physical and psychological symptoms and quality of life. Goals & Projected Outcomes: The goals are the following: 1)    To identify areas of peak psychological symptom burden that are amenable to future intervention [...]

9 07, 2018

Title: Deconstructing Maternal Circuit Elements that Underlie Anxiety and Motivation | McHenry & Stuber | $40,000

Title: Deconstructing Maternal Circuit Elements that Underlie Anxiety and Motivation Award: $40,000 Need/Problem: Approximately 13-20% of perinatal women are afflicted by psychiatric illnesses, such as postpartum depression. These conditions impair maternal health, compromise mother-infant interactions, and have adverse implications for the developing offspring. Grant Summary: Postpartum disorders may stem from perturbations in brain circuits that ordinarily act to promote maternal health and offspring care. However, a functional neural circuit level of understanding is poorly understood. For more effective treatments, it is necessary to gain a better understanding of the neural mechanisms that underlie both normal and pathological postpartum adaptations. The proposed research aims to establish a novel preclinical approach in a mouse model to elucidate the function of maternal circuit elements that affect infant care, anxiety, and motivation. Goals & Projected Outcomes: The proposed research aims to establish a [...]

9 07, 2018

gPACT – a rapid large & inexpensive study of Postpartum Depression | Meltzer-Brody | $99,000

gPACT – a rapid large & inexpensive study of Postpartum Depression Award: $99,000 Dr. Samantha Meltzer-Brody helped assemble an international team of researchers and clinicians who, using open-source Apple software, could gather information from thousands of women experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression (PPD). Selected participants would submit DNA samples for researchers to compare against DNA from women who have never experienced depression. With this study, Dr. Meltzer-Brody and her team hope to discover genetic factors that could lead to better prediction, diagnosis, and treatment for perinatal mental illnesses. Samantha Meltzer-Brody, M.D. Need/Problem:  Despite its prevalence—up to 1 in 7 mothers experience postpartum depression—and its devastating effects on women and their families, PPD (and, by extension, PPP) is a poorly understood condition. Grant Summary: In an effort to combat this issue, Dr. Samantha [...]

9 07, 2018

Investigating Brain and Behavior Development in Typical and High-Risk Children | Short | $46,921

Investigating Brain and Behavior Development in Typical and High-Risk Children Award: $46,921 Mental illnesses are likely present early in childhood, long before the symptoms begin to emerge in adolescence or adulthood. By leveraging the data from the Early Brain Development (EBD) study, researcher Dr. Sarah Short will study trajectories of the brain and behavioral development from birth through pre-adolescence, searching for signs of mental illness symptoms that correlate with early brain development. Sarah Short, Ph.D. Need/Problem: The neural basis of major mental illnesses is likely present early in childhood, long before the clinical symptoms begin to emerge in adolescence or adulthood. Until recently, methods for studying the developing brain were unavailable. Grant Summary: This study seeks to provide new knowledge and hope for preventing mental illness and promoting healthy outcomes in children [...]

9 07, 2018

Identifying Key Metabolites in the Microbiome-Gut-Brain Axis During Infancy | Santelli & Gilmore | $64,881

Identifying Key Metabolites in the Microbiome-Gut-Brain Axis During Infancy Award: $64,881 The human gastrointestinal system contains a vastly complex system of microbes. We know that the composition and interactions of these microbial communities impact our neurodevelopment, cognition, and emotional behavior, but how is still largely unclear. Researchers will study the interactions between gut bacteria, bacterial gene expression, the presence of stress hormones, and a number of other chemical and behavioral factors, in infants. If a pattern exists, the data could help identify risk factors for psychiatric illness, and lead to preventive therapies and treatments. Rebecca Knickmeyer Santelli, Ph.D. and John Gilmore, M.D. Need/Problem: The composition of the gut microbiome (the trillions of microbes inhabiting the intestinal tract) impacts neurodevelopment, cognition, and stress-related behaviors relevant to a wide range of psychiatric illnesses, but [...]

9 07, 2018

Achieving Synergy with Multimodal Brain Stimulation: Electricity Meets Magnetism | Frohlich | $156,613

Achieving Synergy with Multimodal Brain Stimulation: Electricity Meets Magnetism Award: $156,613 Dr. Frohlich’s current exploration of noninvasive brain stimulation began with a Foundation grant in 2012, and continued in 2015 with an additional $200,000 award. The third phase of this project attempts to integrate electrical and magnetic stimulation—two methods often used separately—to target specific trouble spots and improve overall brain function. Flavio Frohlich, Ph.D. Need/Problem: One effective treatment strategies for mental illnesses is to combine medications to achieve maximal therapeutic benefit. In contrast, despite the emergence of multiple, different forms of non-invasive brain stimulation for the treatment of mental illnesses, very little is known about the potential therapeutic synergy of different forms of non-invasive brain stimulation. Grant Summary:  This is the first study of its kind to investigate the targeted combination of [...]