Published December 9, 2013
To advance promising research on schizophrenia, the Patrick P. Lee Foundation will fund long-term fellowships for three advanced research trainees in the lab of Michal K. Stachowiak, PhD, professor of pathology and anatomical sciences.
A new $600,000 grant will support University at Buffalo students pursuing either doctoral degrees or MD/PhDs (through the Medical Scientist Training Program), for four years.
The trainees will contribute to an innovative research team exploring the root causes and neurodevelopmental mechanisms of schizophrenia.
This knowledge could lead to novel early interventions and treatments that arrest the disease’s development.
Stachowiak believes a breakthrough is close at hand.
“We have dedicated our careers to better understanding schizophrenia and are very close to reaching a great milestone in how to treat this disease,” he says.
Schizophrenia afflicts some 2 million Americans and strikes most often from adolescence through adulthood.
But Stachowiak has learned its origins may lie in genetic missteps prior to birth.
He and his team developed a transgenic mouse model which led to the discovery of novel gene regulatory mechanisms for the disease.
“We believe this unique model explains schizophrenia from genes to brain structure and finally to development,” he says.
Our findings suggest it might someday be possible to arrest the progression of the disease before it fully develops, he notes.
The Amherst, N.Y.-based Lee Foundation supports medical care and research; education; human and community services; and behavioral health.