Top 10 Advances in Psychiatric Research for 2019 from the 

Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

NEW YORK (January 23, 2020) – The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, the largest private funder of mental health research grants, has announced the 2019 Leading Research Achievements by BBRF Grantees, Prizewinners & Scientific Council Members. These scientists are making significant advances in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental health conditions that impact millions of people around the world. Research progress has been reported in schizophrenia, psychosis, ADHD, anxiety, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, autism spectrum disorder, PTSD, depression and addiction.

“We are pleased to present these important research studies that reflect some of the most innovative ideas in neuroscience and psychiatry today,” says Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D., President and CEO of BBRF. “In supporting psychiatric research, our goal is to better understand the causes and develop new ways to treat brain and behavior disorders.”

“Our model encourages the work of leading scientists who are striving to dramatically improve the lives of people with mental illness and brain disorders,”  says Herbert Pardes, M.D., President of the BBRF Scientific Council and Executive Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. 

Research achievements are presented in the order of their publication in scientific journals in 2019:

  • Next-Generation Therapies: SchizophreniaAdding Guanfacine Boosted Benefits of Cognitive Remediation Therapy in a Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorder, Margaret M. McClure, Ph.D., Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; 2013 BBRF Young Investigator. American Journal of Psychiatry, April 2019

  • Diagnostic Tools/Early Intervention: Schizophrenia, Psychosis, ADHDHigher Maternal Choline Levels in Pregnancy Had Protective Role in Infant Brain Development, Robert R. Freedman, M.D., University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine; BBRF Scientific Council, 2015 Lieber Prize, 2006 and 1999 BBRF Distinguished Investigator; M. Camille Hoffman, M.D., University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine; 2015 Baer Prize. Journal of Pediatrics, May 2019

  • Diagnostic Tools/Early Intervention: Anxiety Over-sensitivity to Sound, Smell, Touch, or Taste in Preschoolers Predicted Higher Risk for Anxiety at Age 6, Kimberly L. H. Carpenter, Ph.D., Duke University School of Medicine; 2015 BBRF Young Investigator. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, June 2019

  • Next-Generation Therapies: Bipolar DisorderStudy Finds Lithium Has Advantages Over Other Mood Stabilizers in Youths with Bipolar Disorder, Boris Birmaher, M.D., University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; 2013 Colvin Prize. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, July 2019

  • Basic Research: Eating DisordersLarge Genome Study Suggests Anorexia Nervosa is a Metabolic Disorder as Well as a Psychiatric One, Cynthia Bulik, Ph.D., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and Karolinska Institute, Sweden; 2017 BBRF Distinguished Investigator.  Nature Genetics, August 2019

  • Basic Research: Bipolar Disorder Long-term Study Reveals Trajectory of How Bipolar Disorder Emerges in High-Risk Youth, Anne Duffy, M.D., F.R.C.P.C., Queen’s University at Kingston, Ontario; 2005, 2003 BBRF Independent Investigator; 2000 Young Investigator. American Journal of Psychiatry, September 2019

  • Diagnostic Tools/Early Intervention: Autism Spectrum Disorder – Progress in Research on Brain Wave Patterns to Predict Autism Outcomes, Charles A. Nelson III, Ph.D., Harvard University, Boston Children’s Hospital; 2017 Ruane Prize; April R. Levin, M.D., Harvard University, Boston Children’s Hospital; 2016 BBRF Young Investigator. Nature Communications, September 2019

  • Basic Research: PTSD, AnxietyIn Mice, and Perhaps People, Gut Organisms Impact the Ability to Extinguish Fear, Conor Liston, M.D., Ph.D., Weill Cornell Medical College; 2013 BBRF Young Investigator. Nature, October 2019

  • Next-Generation Therapies: DepressionDeep-Brain Stimulation Showed Multi-Year Effectiveness in Severely Depressed, Treatment-Resistant Patients, Helen S. Mayberg, M.D., Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; BBRF Scientific Council, 2007 Falcone Prize, 2002 BBRF Distinguished Investigator, 1995 Independent Investigator, 1991 Young Investigator. American Journal of Psychiatry, November 2019

  • Basic Research; Diagnostic Tools/Early Intervention: Addiction–AlcoholActivity in Newly Discovered Brain Circuit Predicted Future Compulsive Drinking in Mice, Kay M. Tye, Ph.D., Salk Institute for Biological Studies; BBRF Scientific Council, 2016 Freedman Prize, 2013 BBRF Young Investigator. Science, November 2019

For more details:

The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation
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 $408 million to fund more than 4,800 leading scientists around the world, which has led to over $4 billion in additional funding. 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.