Welcome to the Center for Psychiatric Genomics

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The causes of psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, anorexia nervosa, and autism are enduring human mysteries. Despite causing such immense human suffering, they are among the most poorly understood disorders in medicine.

Schizophrenia is a dramatic example. Schizophrenia can be a lifelong illness and people with the disorder often die decades earlier than their peers. The personal, financial, and social costs of schizophrenia to individuals, their families, and their communities are an immense burden on society.  The lifetime cost of schizophrenia averages $US 1.4 million per person. Available research funding for schizophrenia pales in comparison to its impact on society.  Investing equal funds in finding the cause and developing targeted treatments will change the lives of millions of individuals and their families.

We know few facts about the causes of schizophrenia, and have little data to guide efforts at rational prevention and treatment.  Individuals with schizophrenia are stigmatized due to misinformation and fear.

There is no poster child for schizophrenia.

At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, we find ourselves on the cusp of a revolution in the understanding of psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia. By leveraging rapid technological and scientific advances in genomics and biology, we are beginning to crack the code of these disorders. We are now poised to build the bridge between laboratory and clinic, and to inform prevention and treatment. Ultimately, we will identify cures.

The UNC Center for Psychiatric Genomics is at the forefront of this scientific revolution. Our work is global. We engage teams of top scientists from around the world using leading-edge technologies to push the boundaries of understanding of mental illness. We are of a new generation of scientists who share our data and findings freely so that others can build on our work to accelerate scientific process.

The Center for Psychiatric Genomics envisions a highly efficient “virtual laboratory” that brings together leaders in relevant fields from around the world. This center will deeply connect groups with expertise in areas ranging from the DNA molecule to living neurons to the populations of entire countries. Our purpose is to rapidly decode the causes of psychiatric disorders. Our model breaks down the traditional silos that impede progress in science to create exceptional intellectual synergies. We will deliver concrete answers about how genes and environment act to cause these disorders.

With your help, we can find the cause and work toward cure.