Progress in understanding the genetic and neurobiological basis of bipolar disorder(s) has come from both human studies and animal model studies. Until recently, the lack of concerted integration between the two approaches has been hindering the pace of discovery, or more exactly, constituted a missed opportunity to accelerate our understanding of this complex and heterogeneous group of disorders. Our group has helped overcome this "lost in translation" barrier by developing an approach called convergent functional genomics (CFG). The approach integrates animal model gene expression data with human genetic linkage/association data, as well as human tissue (postmortem brain, blood) data. This Bayesian strategy for cross-validating findings extracts meaning from large datasets, and prioritizes candidate genes, pathways and mechanisms for subsequent targeted, hypothesis-driven research. The CFG approach may also be particularly useful for identification of blood biomarkers of the illness.