MRN Receives $11.6 Million for Schizophrenia Study



October 23, 2008

Contact: Luke Frank, Media Relations Manager, 505/272-3679; cell 505/907-9525; Dolores González, Director, External Relations, MRN, 505/925-4747; cell 505/259-9736

ALBUQUERQUE, NM - The Mind Research Network (MRN) has been selected by the National Institutes of Health for a five-year, $11.6-million Institutional Development Award (IDeA) grant to study the neural mechanisms of schizophrenia.

The IDeA grant will support the development of a Center for Biomedical Research Excellence - or COBRE center - through the NIH’s National Center for Research Resources (NCRR). COBRE Centers provide laboratory scientists and clinical researchers with the tools and training they need to understand, detect, treat, and prevent a wide range of diseases.

These NCRR grants also support thematic multidisciplinary centers that strengthen institutional biomedical research capacity, by expanding biomedical faculty research capability and enhancing research infrastructure, including the establishment of core facilities needed to carry out the objectives of a multidisciplinary, collaborative program.

Led by MRN Principal Investigator and UNM Department of Psychiatry Professor John Lauriello, M.D., the Mind’s COBRE center will use several neuroimaging techniques to examine underlying brain circuits and connections associated with schizophrenia, and integrate imaging data with psychiatric, neuropsychological and genetic testing to investigate the major cognitive domains of schizophrenia dysfunction.

"We’ll be looking at four distinct areas of brain dysfunction associated with schizophrenia: attention; memory; concept formation; and problem-solving abilities," explains Lauriello. "What a tremendous opportunity to incorporate some of neuroscience’s most powerful imaging tools to investigate specifically where in the human brain’s circuitry things might be going wrong for those suffering from schizophrenia," he continues.

The center will develop four independent research models to be integrated in order as data are collected:

1. Auditory Sensory Gating, which begins at the basic level if sensory processing, will be led by Dr. Andrew Mayer

2. Auditory and Visual, which builds on the first project adding multisensory integration, led by Dr. Julia Stephen

3. Traverse Patterning, which relies on working memory and relational memory integration, led by Dr. Faith Hanlon

4. Intelligence, which focuses on generalized higher cognitive functioning, led by Dr. Rex Jung.

"The Mind Research Network is the ideal facility for building this center," adds MRN CEO John Rasure. "More than 10 years ago, the Mind was conceived by U.S. Senator Pete Domenici specifically to seek ways to collect and integrate imaging, genetic and behavioral data in search of answers about schizophrenia. We are extremely pleased about this award and what it means to the Senator’s legacy."

"Over the years, I have worked to ensure greater resources for understanding and treatment of diseases that affect the brain," Domenici says. "I applaud the National Institutes of Health for providing this grant that will allow the Mind Research Network to carry out invaluable work to understand schizophrenia’s process and affects on the human brain. I expect to hear good things as MRN carries out its work."

The Mind Research Network is dedicated to advancing the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness and brain disorders. For information on the Mind Research Network or the 2008 COBRE Grant, please call 505/272-5028 or

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