News and Publications
TSRI Scientific Report 2003
Helen L. Dorris Child and Adolescent Neurological and Psychiatric Disorder Institute
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 to foster
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 Child and Adolescent Neurological and Psychiatric Disorder
Institute was 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 institute is to uncover the pathologic
basis of mental disorders and to develop therapies for the disorders. In the
past year, several talented investigators were recruited to join the institute,
including Jerold Chun and Lisa Stowers. Together, these investigators are addressing
many of the most challenging problems facing contemporary molecular and behavioral
neuroscience. Their research promises to uncover fundamental mechanisms for brain
function and to reveal novel strategies and targets for the treatment of nervous