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Release: Immediate

UI receives $1.1 million grant to study genetics of mood disorders

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa has received a $1.1 million grant to help in efforts to identify the genes that lead to bipolar disorder.

The UI is one of eight sites around the country to receive funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the four-year project. The probe into the genetics of psychiatric disorders is part of NIH's continuing human genome project.

The NIH money will allow UI to gather a large group of sibling pairs affected with manic-depression and study them, along with other family members, to figure out what genes are involved in the disorder.

Dr. William Coryell, professor of psychiatry, will lead the UI efforts. Coryell said he expects the project to get under way in about a month.

The psychiatric community has spent the last decade working on the genetic make-up of psychiatric disorders. What makes the mapping so challenging is that with each disorder there are multiple effects, and thus, multiple genes involved, said Robert G. Robinson, UI professor and head of psychiatry.