Unraveling the Mysteries of Mental Health Disorders: Two Groundbreaking Studies by Mount Sinai Scientists


Two recent studies, spearheaded by a team of researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and published in the special issue of Science on May 24, 2023, offer significant insights into the molecular origins of neuropsychiatric diseases, specifically focusing on schizophrenia.

Working under the auspices of the PsychENCODE Consortium, an initiative established by the National Institutes of Health in 2015, these investigations represent the largest single-cell analysis to date of the brains of individuals with schizophrenia. Additionally, the team created the first-ever population-scale map of the regulatory components of the brain, providing essential insights into the pathogenesis of mental health disorders.

As Panos Roussos, MD, Ph.D., senior author of both studies, Professor of Psychiatry, and Genetics and Genomic Sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and Director of the Center for Disease Neurogenomics, explains, “We urgently need new avenues for developing effective treatments for individuals suffering from schizophrenia and other severe mental health conditions.”

With advancements in technology and research methodologies, these scientists are now able to delve deeper into the biology of neuropsychiatric diseases than ever before. The latest research builds upon the foundational work initiated by PsychENCODE, which has identified hundreds of new risk genes for mental disorders, including schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorder, and bipolar disorder. This research has also pinpointed critical developmental stages in the brain when these genes exert the most significant impact on the disease process.

The initial findings from PsychENCODE were published in Science in 2018. These studies primarily focused on molecular data gathered from previous research. The latest investigations, however, represent a scientific breakthrough, as evidenced by the following two papers in Science led by Mount Sinai.

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