Scientific Report 2006
Helen L. Dorris Child and Adolescent Neuro-Psychiatric Disorder Institute
sequencing of the human genome promises to propel humans into the age of molecular
medicine, where complex diseases are diagnosed and treated in a patient- and target-specific
manner. For the nervous system, in particular, the postgenome era holds the potential
to deliver groundbreaking new medicines for previously intractable psychiatric disorders
including anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia.
However, in order 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, including chemistry, physics, genetics, and behavior.
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 these disorders. In the past 3 years, several talented investigators
have been 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