Tool Development

As genetic analyses of psychiatric disease have advanced, the research community has found that their progress is impeded by four key bottlenecks:

  1. How to transform genetic discoveries that have revealed extreme polygenicity and modestly penetrant variants into biological insights to elucidate disease mechanisms and inform a new therapeutics;
  2. How to think about and develop tractable and, where possible, scalable model systems that capture human biology and in which to interrogate emerging genetic variants and test therapeutic hypotheses;
  3. How to link genetic variants with psychiatric disease-relevant phenotypes despite the challenges of pleiotropy, uncertain disease definitions, and contested diagnostic thresholds;
  4. How to develop new therapeutics despite the inviolability of the living human brain and severe limitations of widely used animal models.

To tackle these challenges, many groups at the Stanley Center focus not only on transformative biology but also on developing new methodologies and tools that will be needed to crack open previously impenetrable problems. By investing heavily in the development of new tools and resources, Stanley Center researchers are empowering scientists the world over to advance neuroscience and psychiatric research.

Areas of ongoing tool development effort: