Brain & Behavior Research Foundation Awards Over $10.3 Million In Young Investigator Grants to 150 Mental Health Scientists

NEW YORK (October 6, 2021) -The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation today announced its annual Young Investigator Grants, valued at more than $10.3 million, awarded to 150 of the world’s most promising young scientists. The grants support the work of early career investigators with innovative ideas for groundbreaking neurobiological research seeking to identify causes, improve treatments, and develop methods of prevention for psychiatric illnesses.

 Since 1987, the Foundation has awarded more than $430 million in research grants to more than 5,100 scientists globally.

 This year’s Young Investigators are studying a broad range of topics including aspects of early brain development and their impact on brain disorders and social interactions, as well as such timely issues as the possible association of depression with impaired response to COVID-19 vaccines; how racial discrimination may heighten the risk of future depression in adolescent African-American girls whose mothers have been clinically depressed; the impact of stress and trauma on refugees and victims of war; a possible relationship between “screen time” and the emotional and cognitive problems in adolescents; the possible role of dietary supplements to improve the health of pregnant women with the eating disorder anorexia nervosa; and a biofeedback-based therapy to treat PTSD in young people.

Grantees are also studying illnesses that include addiction, anxiety, ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, depression, eating disorders, gender dysphoria, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, psychosis, and schizophrenia, as well as research on suicide prevention.

The recipients were selected by the Foundation’s Scientific Council, comprised of 176 leading experts across disciplines in brain and behavior research, including one Nobel Prizewinner; two former directors and the current director of the National Institute of Mental Health; four recipients of the National Medal of Science; 8 members of the National Academy of Sciences; 16 National Institute of Health Chiefs & Directors; 31 chairs of psychiatry and neuroscience departments at leading medical institutions; and 50 members of the National Academy of Medicine.

“BBRF Young Investigators represent the next generation of scientists who we expect will make great strides in basic research, new technologies, next generation therapies, and early intervention techniques,” said Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D., President and CEO, of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation. “This is the kind of out-of-the box research that will offer the best hope for improved treatments, cures, and methods of prevention for our loved ones, and we’re thrilled to provide seed funding for this important work.”

Herbert Pardes, M.D., President of the Foundation’s Scientific Council
noted, “For more than 30 years BBRF has focused on funding visionary young
investigators who see opportunities in forging new paths. By supporting ground-breaking work, BBRF helps set the trajectory of brain research and builds momentum toward discoveries that we expect will yield advances in neuroscience.”

This year the Foundation’s Scientific Council reviewed 788 applications to select the 150 Young Investigators. The breakdown of funding is as follows. Several projects have multiple classifications:

  • About 73 percent of the projects funded are basic research, the wellspring of innovation in brain research, as in all sciences.


  • About 20 percent of the 2021 grants fund projects specifically for the development of next-generation therapies.


  • About 16 percent of the projects funded are diagnostic tools/early interventions that aim to prevent brain and behavior disorders.


  • About 10 percent of projects fund the development of new technologies that will power both basic research and new developments in the clinic.


For more detailed information about the Young Investigator Grant recipients, click here.

About The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation
The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation awards research grants to develop improved treatments, cures, and methods of prevention for mental illness. These illnesses include addiction, ADHD, anxiety, autism, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, depression, eating disorders, OCD, PTSD, and schizophrenia, as well as research on suicide prevention. Since 1987, the Foundation has awarded more than $430 million to fund more than 6,200 grants to more than 5,100 leading scientists around the world. 100% of every dollar donated for research is invested in research grants. BBRF operating expenses are covered by separate foundation grants. BBRF is the producer of the Emmy® nominated public television series Healthy Minds with Dr. Jeffrey Borenstein, which aims to remove the stigma of mental illness and demonstrate that with help, there is hope.