In the last several years, our understanding of the biological causes of mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder has accelerated dramatically, driven by advances in human genomics. The Broad Institute — primarily through research conducted at the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research — is committed to leveraging advances in our understanding of the human genome to better characterize the molecular basis of psychiatric disease, and to help turn these emerging findings into new treatments that might benefit the hundreds of millions of people around the world suffering from mental illness.
The Stanley Center’s 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.