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The Helen L. Dorris Institute for the Study of Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders of Children and Adolescents
Ben Cravatt, Ph.D.
The explosion of information in the past several decades has had a paradoxical effect on modern science: the more we know, the less aware we become of all we know. Disciplines have become so specialized that it is difficult to keep abreast of the discoveries in one subspecialty, let alone several fields of research.
This specialization is a problem for scientists because sometimes the best answers for the most important questions are already known—but not by the researchers who ask the questions. And the people who know the answers are simply unaware that others are asking.
TSRI recognizes that one of the best ways to remedy this problem is by fostering an interdisciplinary approach to science that draws on the expertise of scientists from multiple backgrounds. By establishing formal ties and infrastructures that bring scientists together, several centers on campus set the stage for an interdisciplinary approach to flourish.
The Helen L. Dorris Institute for the Study of Neurological and Psychiatric
Disorders of Children and Adolescents was recently established
with a generous gift from mental health advocate and San Diego
State University professor emeritus Helen L. Dorris. Her interest
in mental health advocacy led her to provide the funding to establish
this institute, which has a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary
approaches to studies of neurologic and psychiatric disorders.
Specifically, the aim of scientists at the new institute will be to uncover the pathologic basis of mental disorders and to develop therapies for the disorders. Currently, a team of investigators is being recruited from several disciplines to come together and focus on understanding these critical issues.