From the Director Winter 2017 Issue 40

From the Director

Robert Desimone, Director of the McGovern Institute. Photo: Kent Dayton
Robert Desimone, Director of the McGovern Institute. Photo: Kent Dayton

This year we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Poitras Center for Affective Disorders Research, which was established in 2007 with a landmark commitment of $20M from our longtime supporters Jim and Pat Poitras.

Over the past 10 years, the Center has enabled a long list of discoveries and technical advances. Some have involved animal models, including the development of new genetic technologies for studying psychiatric disorders such as autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Other projects have focused on human patients, including the work of my colleagues Sue Whitfield-Gabrieli and Satrajit Ghosh, which you can read about in this issue.

Sue and Satra, who are affiliated with the lab of John Gabrieli, are working to identify ways that human neuroimaging can be translated into practical applications that can directly impact patient care. For example, they have shown that brain scans can help improve predictions about who will respond best to a given treatment, and they are now working toward predicting before the onset of symptoms who is most likely to develop a given disorder—opening the door to earlier
and potentially more effective interventions.

It is exciting to see the powerful new technologies of neuroimaging applied to these important clinical challenges, and we are deeply grateful to Jim and Pat Poitras for their visionary gift that has made this work possible.

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