The sequencing of the human genome offers humankind an unprecedented opportunity to develop new strategies for the diagnosis and treatment of human disease. For the nervous system, in particular, the post-genome era holds the potential to deliver molecular medicines for previously intractable psychiatric disorders, including anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia. However, to realize this goal, a new breed of research institute is needed that cultivates cross-talk among many experimental disciplines. Indeed, unraveling the complexities of the human brain and behavior can only be achieved by bringing together scientists from diverse backgrounds and expertise.
TSRI recognizes that one of the best ways to foster an interdisciplinary approach to science is through the establishment of centers on campus at which collaborative approaches to research are encouraged to flourish.
The Helen L. Dorris Child and Adolescent Neuro-Psychiatric Disorder Institute was established with a generous gift from mental health advocate and San Diego State University professor emeritus Helen L. Dorris. Her interest in mental health advocacy led her to provide the funding to establish this institute, which has a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary approaches to studies of neurologic and psychiatric disorders.
Specifically, the aim of scientists at the institute is to uncover the pathologic basis of mental disorders and to develop therapies for the disorders. In the past year, several talented investigators were recruited to join the institute, including Jerold Chun and Lisa Stowers. Together, these investigators are addressing many of the most challenging problems facing contemporary molecular and behavioral neuroscience. Their research promises to uncover fundamental mechanisms for brain function and to reveal novel strategies and targets for the treatment of nervous system disorders.