BBRF announces over $13.8 million in Young Investigator Grants to support mental health scientists

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The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation today announced the awarding of its Young Investigator Grants valued at more than $13.8 million to 200 of the world's most promising young scientists. The grants, awarded annually, support the work of early-career scientists with innovative ideas for groundbreaking neurobiological research seeking to identify causes, improve treatments and develop prevention strategies for psychiatric disorders. Since 1987, the Foundation has awarded more than $408 million in research grants to more than 4,800 scientists globally.

This year's Young Investigators are studying some of the most challenging conditions including addiction, anxiety, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorders, bipolar disorder, depression, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive and post-traumatic stress disorder, psychosis, schizophrenia, as well as research on suicide prevention.

The recipients are from 126 institutions in 20 countries. They were selected by the Foundation's Scientific Council, comprised of 184 leading experts across disciplines in brain and behavior research, including one Nobel Prizewinner; three former directors and the current director of the National Institute of Mental Health; four recipients of the National Medal of Science; 12 members of the National Academy of Sciences; 29 chairs of psychiatry and neuroscience departments at leading medical institutions; and 53 members of the National Academy of Medicine.

One in five people in the United States lives with a mental illness. This year's BBRF Young Investigators represent a new generation of researchers who will pioneer breakthroughs in mental health research. We are excited to be able to support the work of these young scientists, who will apply powerful new technologies and insights to understanding, treating, and curing mental illness."

Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D., President and CEO, of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

Herbert Pardes, M.D., President of the Foundation's Scientific Council and Executive Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, says, "BBRF Young Investigator grants enable outstanding scientists to pursue bold new ideas and groundbreaking research that have improved the lives of people living with mental illness. In many cases, BBRF grants offer the first critical support for a young scientist's work. Grant recipients often go on to receive subsequent funding valued at more than 10 times the original grant amount."

This year, the Foundation's Scientific Council reviewed 943 applications to select the 200 Young Investigators. The breakdown of funding is as follows:

  • About 69 percent of the projects (137 grants) funded are basic research, the wellspring of innovation in brain research to understand what happens in the brain to cause mental illness.
  • About 15 percent of the projects (29 grants) funded are diagnostic tools/early interventions that aim to prevent brain and behavior disorders.
  • About 3 percent of projects (7 grants) fund the development of new technologies that will power both basic research and new developments in the clinic.
  • About 14 percent of the 2019 projects (27 grants) fund projects that specifically aim to develop next-generation therapies to reduce symptoms of mental illness and ultimately cure and prevent brain and behavior disorders.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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