Helen L. Dorris Child and Adolescent Neuro-Psychiatric Disorder Institute
The sequencing of the human genome offers humankind an unprecedented opportunity to develop new strategies
for the diagnosis and treatment of human disease. For the nervous system, in particular, the postgenome
era holds the potential to deliver molecular medicines for previously intractable psychiatric
disorders, including anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia. However, to realize this goal,
a new breed of research institute is needed that cultivates cross talk among many experimental
disciplines. Indeed, unraveling the complexities of the human brain and behavior can only be achieved
by bringing together scientists from diverse backgrounds and expertise. The scientists at Scripps
Research recognize that one of the best ways to foster an interdisciplinary approach is to establish
centers on campus at which collaborative research is encouraged.
The Helen L. Dorris Child and Adolescent
Neuro-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 2 years, several talented investigators were recruited to join the institute.
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 system