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Blumberg-Led Research Team Awarded Grant for Bipolar Disorder Study

January 13, 2022

A research team led by Hilary Blumberg, MD, director of the Yale Mood Disorders Research Program (MDRP), has been awarded a grant for the study, “A Novel Mitochondrial Target as Therapeutic Approach for Bipolar Disorder.”

The grant was awarded by the Baszucki Brain Research Fund and the Milken Institute, which are funding research from around the world to advance research for bipolar disorder. The Baszucki family has committed more than $13 million to science research in bipolar disorder. This grant is from their fund to support pilot research in therapeutic discovery and translational efforts.

“Our own family’s experience underscores the enormous challenges – but also the tremendous potential for recovery – for those living with bipolar disorder,” said Jan Ellison, who established the Baszucki Brain Research Fund in 2019 with her husband, David Baszucki. “Our commitment with these initial grants is to partner with Milken and our brilliant awardees to advance innovative bipolar treatments that will bring new hope to families like ours.”

Blumberg, the John and Hope Furth Professor of Psychiatric Neuroscience and Professor of Psychiatry, of Psychiatry and Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, and in the Child Study Center, will be joined by Yale investigators Elizabeth Jonas, MD; In-Hyun Park, PhD; and collaborator Kristen Brennand, PhD, to study novel mitochondrial mechanisms in neurons derived from stem cell generated from blood samples of individuals with extensive assessments that include magnetic resonance imaging brain scans.

“Mitochondrial mechanisms have long been implicated in bipolar disorder, however, the specific mechanisms involved have not been clarified," Blumberg said. "This grant will provide us the opportunity to bring together expertise from our different scientific disciplines to perform novel research to identify mechanisms that could be new treatment targets for bipolar disorder.”

Bipolar disorder affects roughly 3 percent of the population or nearly 45 million people worldwide.

Blumberg’s MDRP is dedicated to understanding the science of mood disorders, including bipolar disorder and depression. The MDRP brings together a multi-disciplinary group of scientists from across Yale in highly collaborative research efforts to improve early detection and treatment, and prevent the suffering of the symptoms and suicide risk, of mood and related disorders across the lifespan.

Submitted by Christopher Gardner on January 13, 2022