Dr. Sarah Bergen, a Senior Researcher at the Department of Medical Epidemiology & Biostatistics (MEB) at Karolinska Institutet, has been awarded a grant of approximately 1.2 million US dollars, from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA.
As an early-stage Principle Investigator, Sarah was awarded an NIH grant for the first time two years ago (a 2-year R21), and now she has received her first 4-year R01grant . The NIH R01 Research Project grant is an extremely competitive program even for experienced researchers within the US.
The other researchers collaborating on this project are Prof. Paul Lichtenstein and Prof. Patrick Sullivan at MEB and Prof. Kenneth Kendler at Virginia Commonwealth University (USA). Dr. Bergen and her team will be studying the risk factors for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. We know that these disorders share much of their genetic risk, and this project will reveal whether environmental risk factors are also shared between them.
Additionally, since combinations of genetic and environmental influences can work together to produce these diagnoses, studies investigating these interactions are also planned using two different measures of genetic risk: 1) a family history of either disorder, and 2) molecular genetic risk from the DNA of study participants. The more knowledge we have about how these disorders arise, the better we will be able to prevent and treat them.
This article was first published on 19 May by Karolinska Institutet.