Psychiatric disease remains a relatively uncharted frontier in medicine. The major psychiatric diseases affect a significant proportion of Americans, and the costs in terms of lost years of productivity are enormous for patients and their families. Mount Sinai researchers are making progress in understanding the genetic architecture of many conditions.
The mission of the Division of Psychiatric Genomics in the Department of Psychiatry is to apply genetic insights to the clinical practice of psychiatry. Our work has three major areas of focus that are critical to progress in the future:
- Genetics and Genomics
- Molecular Translational Laboratories including a focus on plasticity, neurodevelopment and neural stem cells
- Clinical Trials
The goal of the Division of Psychiatric Genomics is to begin to shape the treatment of psychiatric patients in the future by using the tools of modern genomics to understand the biology and risk of developing psychiatric disease.
Genetics and Genomics
Large-scale genomic studies are detecting genes involved in several psychiatric diseases including autism, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Researchers are leading initiatives to obtain genomic sequence data from thousands of affected individuals with these illnesses and that will increase the number of genes found. With what is proving to be a highly complex genetic landscape, existing approaches that model changes in multiple, and complex ways will be needed.
Molecular Translational Laboratories
The next steps for the field of psychiatry will be to connect genetic vulnerability loci with underlying molecular mechanisms in order to understand the pathobiology for each psychiatric disease. This will provide biological insight and lead to more appropriate targeting of proteins for therapeutic development.
A major area of focus is cutting edge clinical trials of psychiatric disease by performing early-stage investigation of new treatments and tests for neuropsychiatric disorders, in an effort to accelerate the translation of genetic and other laboratory discoveries at MSSM and elsewhere to the clinic.