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4th Annual Prechter Lecture – A Summary

Housed at the University of Michigan Depression Center, the Prechter Bipolar Genetics Repository was established to advance the scope and pace of genetic research on bipolar disorder. The repository is a collaborative project that includes researchers from University of Michigan, Cornell University, Johns Hopkins University, Stanford University and Penn State University.

Initiated in 2007, this lecture series brings to Ann Arbor each year distinguished researchers from the partner universities to give a talk on bipolar genetics and spend time collaborating with the U-M research team.

The 4th Annual Prechter Lecture took place on September 27, 2010 at Rackham Graduate School in Ann Arbor, MI and was entitled “Foundations and Frontiers.” The exact cause of bipolar disorder is unknown, but research has shown that the illness often afflicts those with a genetic predisposition. The Prechter Bipolar Genes project seeks clues to the earlier diagnosis of bipolar illness and the development of more personalized treatments. At the 4th Annual Prechter Lecture, an audience of scientists, students, community members, research participants and donors to the Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Fund heard presentations on the latest advances in bipolar research.  Keynote speaker Akira Sawa, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Director, Program in Molecular Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins University, presented on “The Molecular and Cellular Biology of Mood, Emotion and Perception.” Dr. Sawa is well-known nationally and internationally for his research on the molecular level of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Other featured presenters included:

  • Huda Akil, Ph.D., Co-Director  and Research Professor at the University of Michigan’sMolecular and Behavioral Neurosciences Institute, and Distinguished University Professor and Quarton Professor of Neurosciences in the Department of Psychiatry, who is conducting large scale studies to discover new genes and proteins that cause vulnerability to major depression and bipolar illness;
  • Jon-Kar Zubieta, M.D., Ph.D., Phil F. Jenkins Research Professor of Depression in the Department of Psychiatry and Professor, Department of Radiology, who has pioneered the use of human neurochemical and functional imaging tools for the study of psychiatric disease, and their integration with genetic and clinical information; and,
  • Melvin McInnis, M.D., Thomas B. and Nancy Upjohn Woodworth Professor of Bipolar Disorder and Depression, whose research  focuses on the genetics of bipolar disorder and longitudinal outcomes.

The Annual Prechter Lecture Series is supported through the generosity of the following sponsors: Chrysler Corporation, Comerica Bank, Dearborn Sausage, Ernst & Young, General Motors Foundation, Neiman Marcus and Scott Snow (Financial Advisors) LLC.