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U of M plans genome sequencing project to study bipolar disorder and schizophrenia

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Researchers at the University of Michigan's School of Public Health and Medical School are working on a genome sequencing study to help better understand bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

The Ann Arbor university announced Monday that its researchers are leading the collaboration with researchers at the University of Southern California as well as the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT to sequence the genomes of 10,000 people.

They received three separate four-year awards totaling $16 million from the National Institute of Mental Health to help fund the work.

In a press release, Michael Boehnke, director of the Center for Statistical Genetics in the Department of Biostatistics at the School of Public Health, explained the study's significance: 

"We hope to gain a better understanding of these diseases (bipolar and schizophrenia) that directly affect 1 percent of the population but impact countless friends and relatives...From what we learn, we hope we can identify better targets for drug development or better targets for the drugs we now have. We also could imagine improving our ability to predict who might get these diseases."

The study draws on a body of research previously conducted by the University of Michigan's School of Public Health and other institutions.

– Ari Sandberg, Michigan Radio Newsroom