Four cutting-edge projects that explore new ways of understanding, treating and preventing mental illness have received grants totalling £900,000 from a research charity.
MQ: Transforming Mental Health has awarded four MQ Fellowships. Capitalising on promising scientific and technological advances in their fields, the 2014 MQ Fellows will be carrying out research impacting on a range of mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia.
The international award, which is in its second year, is given to the ‘best and brightest’ early career scientists from around the world.
A committee made up of international experts from diverse disciplines, including neuroscience, genetics, psychology, psychiatry, and social sciences chose the winners.
The research grants – each of £225,000 over three years – have been awarded to:
• Dr Jeremiah Cohen, neuroscientist based at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who is building a ‘map’ of serotonin to improve our understanding of the biology of mood
• Dr Helen Fisher, an interdisciplinary scientist from King’s College London exploring the biological, psychological and social aspects of adverse childhood experiences to understand the development and trajectory of psychotic symptoms in childhood
• Dr Sergiu Pasca, neuroscientist and stem cell biologist based at Stanford University is generating in a dish live human neurons from patients with schizophrenia to gain insights into how schizophrenia develops and to identify new therapeutic targets
• Dr Andrea Reinecke, an Oxford University clinical psychologist developing an innovative, effective, single-session cognitive behavioural therapy treatment for anxiety disorders.
Professor Peter Dayan, director of the Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit at University College London and chair of the Fellows Committee, said: “The field of shortlisted applicants was outstanding, illustrating the impressive depth and breadth of the talent pool in mental health science. These splendid projects address significant gaps in our understanding and, most importantly, have the potential to bring much-needed near-term, as well as longer-term, benefits to treatment and care.”
Cynthia Joyce, chief executive of MQ, added: “MQ was delighted to see that so many talented young scientists want to devote themselves to resolving pressing mental health questions. We look forward to working with our 2014 Awardees on mental health issues in the coming years, and to growing the Fellows programme for the future.”
For more information on MQ's Fellows Programme, click here