Several seriously disabling mental illnesses, such as Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, Autism and Attention Deficit Disorder have been shown to have a major genetic component. Thus there is a professional non-profit society, The International Society of Psychiatric Genetics (ISPG) that works toward educating scientists and the public about the latest research in this field. This current proposal is a renewal of an ongoing NIMH program for the provision of funds to facilitate the participation of new young investigators in the educational programs sponsored by this society, within the program of the World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics (the WCPG). The funding period is for 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.The WCPG is an annual international meeting that attracts both young and senior researchers actively pursuing the genetic mechanisms for serious mental illnesses. Four full-days are preceded by an educational day of courses to facilitate the learning of new investigators and a wider public audience about the latest findings and methods for research applicable to this field. The main meeting consists of plenary lectures from senior scientists with expertise in areas that are needed for this type of research and of sessions that consist of reports on new, never before presented data on a wide-range of genetic topics related to psychiatric illness. Thus scientists of multiple disciplines with an interest in psychiatric genetics come together to facilitate progress in the field with discussions about new data and formulation of plans for future collaborative studies. The meetings are held in Northern America and Europe in alternating years and less frequently in Asia.
The Aims of this proposal will be to provide travel fellowships to young investigators and students working on aspects of the genetics of mental illness, to aid in the preparation and conduction of the educational day, all that will facilitate the progress of research on the genetics of mental illness, and encourage young new researchers to enter this field. This proposal is a renewal of an NIMH sponsored program that provided funds for students and junior researchers to participate in the annual World Congresses of Psychiatric Genetics.
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