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Pitt Receives Grant For Schizophrenia Research

The University of Pittsburgh has received a $10 million grant to be used to research a new hypothesis on schizophrenia.

The grant was received from the National Institute of Mental Health and will be distributed to the university over the next five years. The Silvio O. Conte Center for Translational Mental Health Research will be established because of the grant and will be directed by David Lewis, the chair of Pitt’s Department for Psychiatry.

The hypothesis focuses on the structure of the brain as the cause for schizophrenia.

“And so we bring to it a level of analysis that crosses that full spectrum to understand how core thinking problems in individuals with schizophrenia could be due to specific molecular problems in individual types of brain cells,” Lewis said.

Schizophrenia is very common among individuals 15-45, according to Lewis. With the center’s research, Lewis hopes to either be able to diagnose the disorder more quickly, or even create tools (pharmaceutical or not) to treat it.

“Many individuals with schizophrenia go through periods, or perhaps even most of their life, where they’re unable to effectively engage in occupational activities, or fulfill roles within their families or pursue their education,” Lewis said.

The center will be creating a website soon where they will post all of their findings.

Jess was accepted as a WESA fellow in the news department in January 2014. The Erie, PA native attends Duquesne University where she has a double major--broadcast journalism and political science. Following her anticipated graduation in May 2015, she plans to enter law school or begin a career in broadcast journalism.
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