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NIMH Forum Promotes Collaboration

In an effort to increase collaboration and communication among staff of the National Institute of Mental Health, the NIMH professional working group has established a new forum for learning and sharing science. The second Mental Health Science Faculty Forum, an afternoon gathering at the new NIH Neuroscience Center on Apr. 21, followed last fall's precedent of bringing together members of the NIMH community to become better acquainted with the diverse professional and scientific interests within the institute. The forums, scheduled every 4 months, are designed to reinforce and unify visions of the institute's mission: to understand the brain and behavior and to reduce the burdens of mental illness through research.

At last month's forum, eight scientists from NIMH intramural and extramural research programs presented recent work in the following areas: sleep and depression (Dr. Izja Lederhendler); microarray technologies for genetic analysis (Dr. Hemin Chin); co-occurring depression and heart disease (Dr. Peter Muehrer); the role of the amygdala in nonhuman primates (Dr. Betsy Murray); treatments for depression and insomnia in the elderly (Dr. George Niederehe); mental health effects of disasters (Dr. Ferris Tuma); genotype-phenotype correlation in Gaucher disease (Dr. Ellen Sidransky); and the startle reflex as a measure of motivational states (Dr. Bruce Cuthbert). The speakers addressed audience questions and comments after each presentation.

Once the still-experimental format is settled, the working group hopes that future forums can be opened to colleagues at other institutes. The participation of the wider NIH community is expected to further enrich the discussion and learning process.

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