The Friedman Brain Institute

Genetics Research on Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders

Mount Sinai has a long and rich history of contributions to genetics, psychiatry, and neurology. In 2011, we established new divisions focusing on genetics and genomics and neurodevelopmental disorders in psychiatry, as well as a Department of Genetics and Genomics Sciences.

The Friedman Brain Institute has grown rapidly, with the addition of many new faculty members from distinguished institutions, including the Institute of Psychiatry in London, Harvard Medical School, Stanford, and the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).

Our understanding of human genetics has changed dramatically over the last ten years, indelibly shaped by revolutions in genetic information and technology. The first fruits of the human genome project, the compendium of human DNA sequence, are now largely taken for granted. Extensive fine-scale maps of human variation, both single nucleotide and structural, provide the necessary genetic markers for genome-wide association studies. High-throughput methods for genotyping and so-called next generation sequencing machines are now available at reasonable costs. While human geneticists have had a long history of success identifying genes for single-gene disorders, the coupling of genetic information and technology has led to a proliferation of insights into complex multigenic disorders like autismschizophrenia and bipolar disorderParkinson's disease and related movement disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders, suicidality, addiction and Alzheimer's disease. Scientists are making tremendous strides in understanding the genetics of psychiatric and neurological disorders, and our researchers are at the forefront of these studies across major illnesses.

Genetics Research Areas and Topics

One of our major new areas of study is research harnessing the complexity of data available through genetics, neuroimaging, and molecular studies by applying systems biology approaches. Another is the application of innovative stem cell technologies to study neuron-like cells induced from a patient's skin cells and thereby study that person's illness.

Scientists involved: Schahram Akbarian, Michael Breen, Joseph Buxbaum, Alex Charney, Jinye Dai, Gang Fang, Fanny Elahi, Sam Gandy, Alison Goate, Laura Huckins, Edoardo Marcora, Niamh Mullins, Paul O’Reilly, Dalila Pinto, Towfique Raj, Alan Renton, Panagiotis RoussosCoro Paisan-Ruiz, Robert Sebra, Eric SchadtAndrew Sharp, Georgios Volouakis, Herbert WuBin Zhang

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