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Columbia University Launches Precision Psychiatry, Mental Health Center

NEW YORK – Columbia University is establishing a center focused on precision psychiatry with support from a $75 million grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the university said Tuesday.

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation, a private philanthropic organization based in Greece, provided funding as part of its global health initiative.

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Center for Precision Psychiatry & Mental Health will focus on research and clinical implementation of precision medicine in mental illness, including developing targeted approaches for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. To fuel this research, the center will accumulate datasets of genomic sequences and longitudinal medical records.

"Many existing treatments in psychiatry do not get at root causes," Katrina Armstrong, CEO of Columbia University Irving Medical Center and dean of the faculties of health sciences at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons (VP&S), said in a statement. "We welcome this opportunity to develop new approaches that focus on disease mechanisms and target treatment based on an individual's unique genetic makeup and biology for the ultimate benefit of lifting up care for the community at large."

The center is a joint effort between VP&S's psychiatry department and the Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute, both part of Columbia University, and will collaborate with the New York Genome Center and the New York State Office of Mental Health.