Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research

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The mission of the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at Broad Institute is to reduce the burden of serious mental illness through research. Based on a conjunction of powerful new enabling technologies, a committed interdisciplinary faculty from the Harvard, MIT, and Harvard-affiliated hospital communities, the exceptional people, resources and collaborative ethos of the Broad Institute, and the remarkable philanthropy of Ted Stanley, we at the Stanley Center are galvanized to make progress against the ravages of severe mental illness.

Our primary scientific focus is on the severe psychiatric disorders schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and autism, and the frequently comorbid neurodevelopmental disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). These illnesses have dire consequences for individuals, families, and societies. Fortunately, they have begun to be scientifically tractable because new genomic and computational tools have made it possible to exploit their high heritabilities. We study these disorders because they exhibit significant sharing of genetic risk variants and because their pathogenesis occurs against the shared backdrop of brain development. In addition, at this early stage, the scientific approaches to gene identification and to mechanistic follow-on studies utilize identical and often scalable methodologies.

The increasingly successful discovery of genetic variants associated with disease is only the beginning. Our goal is not to end with a list of genes, but to contribute to new understandings of pathogenesis, the identification of biomarkers, and above all, new treatments. As a result, the Stanley Center has not divided itself into disease-specific intellectual silos. Rather we are organized into intellectually porous clusters based on predominant disciplinary foci and technologies: (1) Genetics; (2) Stem cell-based models; (3) Neurobiology and animal models (4) Technology development and genome-scale neurobiology; (5) Therapeutics; and (6) Clinical trials.

Our scientists share a commitment to interdisciplinary exchange and sharing of methods, tools, and data, with the goal of bringing the most effective tools broadly to bear on the difficult scientific problems of mental illness. We collaborate extensively with research groups around the world to identify important patient populations, technologies, and scientific approaches that will significantly advance our research objectives and knowledge for the psychiatric research community.