Severe Mental Illness: Towards Therapeutics

Save the date for the next Stanley Symposium!
September 16-17, 2025

This two-day in-person symposium, chaired by Dr. Steve Hyman, director of the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at Broad Institute, Dr. Guoping Feng of McGovern Institute at MIT and director of the Neurobiology and Model Systems group of the Stanley Center, and Dr. Benjamin Neale of Massachusetts General Hospital and director of Genetics at the Stanley Center, brought together scientists working on the frontiers of genetics, neurobiology, computational psychiatry, and therapeutic development for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, autism spectrum disorder, and related neuropsychiatric disorders.

The central theme in 2023 addressed the challenges of turning findings from the complex polygenetic landscape of mental illnesses into biology that will inform therapeutic discovery and the identification of biomarkers.  It's clear that new technologies, analytic techniques and models of disease are needed that can accommodate the polygenic background influences on even penetrant disease alleles before we can hope to gain greater understanding of pathological mechanisms. 

The illnesses highlighted in this symposium cause lifelong disability to millions of persons — combined, more than 3 percent of the global population is affected by these severe disorders.



Day 1

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

8:45 – 8:55
Broad Institute
8:55 – 10:05
Keynote: Circuit analysis of the marmoset prefrontal cortex as it relates to the heart and mind of depression
University of Cambridge  
Session 1: Developmental Biology underlying Psychiatric Disease Mechanisms
Chair: Guoping Feng, MIT/Broad Institute 
10:05 – 10:35
From Stem Cells to Assembloids and Towards Buildings Human Circuits in Living Systems
Stanford University
10:35 – 10:50
Coffee Break
10:50 – 11:20
Computational psychiatry across species to study the biology of hallucinations
The Francis Crick Institute
11:20 – 11:50
Broad Institute, Harvard Medical School
11:50 – 12:20
Cellular mechanisms of adolescent development and psychiatric vulnerability
Broad Institute, Boston Children's Hospital
12:20 – 1:20
Session 2: Genetic phenotypes & Therapeutics
Chair: Ben Neale, MGH/Broad Institute
1:20 – 1:30
Session Introduction
Ben Neale, MGH/Broad Institute
1:30 – 2:00
ModelLing and design of cell type specific enhancers using single-cell multi-omics and deep learning
University of Leuven
2:00 – 2:30
The Spectrum of Genetic Variants Associated with Autism and Related Neurodevelopmental Disorders
Boston Children's Hospital
2:30 – 3:00
Characterizing non-coding DNA variants in the human genome
3:00 – 3:15
Coffee Break
3:15 – 3:45
Mechanistic insights from genetic mouse models of schizophrenia based on human (SCHEMA) rare variants
Broad Institute, MIT
3:45 – 4:25
Biomarkers derived from NREM sleep neurophysiology in schizophrenia
Broad Institute
4:25 – 4:50
Poster Session Previews
4:50 – 5:00
Closing Remarks
5:00 – 7:00
Poster Session and reception



Day 2

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

8:45 – 9:55
Keynote: Muscarinic Acetylcholine Receptor Agonists as Novel Treatments for Schizophrenia
Karuna Therapeutics
Session 3: Therapeutics and Biomarkers
Chair: Steve Hyman, Harvard/Broad Institute
9:55 – 10:25
What’s Next? How to Catalyze Growth in Neuropsychiatric R&D
10:25 – 10:55
AI-based Phenotyping and Assessment of Drug Response
10:55 – 11:10
Coffee Break
11:10 – 11:40
Targeting synaptic and neural plasticity for novel, improved treatments for serious mental illness
Oxford University
11:40 – 12:10
Spotlight: Revealing a brain vascular basis for Alzheimer's disease risk
12:10 – 12:40
Panning for Autoantibodies in the Cerebrospinal Fluid of People with Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders: Findings and Implications
12:40 – 1:20
Session 4: Foundational Tools and methods to advance discovery
Chair: Morgan Sheng, MIT/Broad Institute
1:20 – 1:30
Session Introduction
Morgan Sheng, MIT/Broad Institute
1:30 – 2:00
Spatially resolved single-cell translatomic
Broad Institute, MIT
2:00 – 2:30
Spatial and Single Cell Genomics for Next Generation Neuroscience
Broad Institute, MGH
2:30 – 2:50
Coffee Break
2:50 – 3:10
AAV tools for restoring and modulating gene and cell function throughout the brain
Broad Institute
3:10 – 3:40
Multi-donor “Chimeroids” as models for human inter-individual variability
Broad Institute
3:40 – 4:20
Spotlight: What Makes Us Human? Development and Evolution of the Prefrontal Cortex
Yale University School of Medicine
4:20 – 4:30
Concluding remarks from symposium chairs