Identifying and funding critical and groundbreaking brain health research

Given the challenges of understanding and finding therapies for brain illnesses and injuries, the One Mind Rising Star Awards encourage the community of researchers to innovate in basic and translational science to benefit patients, while supporting the research of emerging leaders in the field.

The overarching goal is to award promising, early career investigators an opportunity to enhance or accelerate research on major neuropsychiatric disorders, such as anxiety, addiction, bipolar disorder, depression, post-traumatic stress, schizophrenia, and traumatic brain injury. Total funding for each of the three Rising Star Awards is $250,000, with $83,333 distributed annually over a 3-year period.

In August 2018, One Mind, in collaboration with Janssen Research & Development, awarded three Rising Star Research Awards: and in collaboration with Inscopix, a Technology Supplement Grant. One Mind’s Scientific Advisory Board has chosen Susanne Ahmari, M.D., Ph.D., to receive the 2018 One Mind / Janssen Rising Star Translational Research Award in Honor of the Late Jeffrey S. Nye, M.D., Ph.D.; Paul Jenkins, Ph.D., to receive the 2018 One Mind Rising Star Bipolar Disorder Translational Research Award; and Erin Dunn, ScD, MPH to receive the 2018 One Mind Peter Chiarelli Rising Star Collaborative Research Award. In addition to her Rising Star Award, Dr. Ahmari has also won the 2018 One Mind / Inscopix Technology Supplement Grant.

The 2018 Rising Star Award Winners are: 

Dr. Susanne Ahmari is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research focuses on obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), a chronic, severe mental illness that affects 2 -3% of the population worldwide. To address the unmet need for more effective and safer treatments, Dr. Ahmari aims to identify novel molecular targets that cause the alterations in brain circuits and symptoms associated with this disorder. Dr. Ahmari intends to use the technology supplement grant, comprising Inscopix’s state-of-the-art nVoke miniature microscope system, to map patterns of neural activity related to compulsive behaviors in mouse models of OCD. In investigating brain circuits involved in decision-making, her studies could lay the foundations for development of a novel neurostimulation-based treatment target for OCD.

Dr. Paul Jenkins is Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and Psychiatry at University of Michigan. To identify and develop more effective treatments for bipolar disorder, Dr. Jenkins will use rodent models and patient-derived cell cultures to test his hypothesis that alterations in a protein (ankyrin-G) play a key role in this disorder. Dr. Jenkins will also investigate whether current treatments effectively target the ankyrin-G protein.

Erin Dunn is a social and psychiatric epidemiologist and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.  Dr. Dunn will analyze extensive data from the Pregnancy and Childhood Epigenetics consortium, as well as additional data from other cohorts, to understand why childhood stress is a major risk factor for depression in adolescents and young adults.  She hypothesizes that the effects of stress are time-sensitive and focuses her initial analysis on alterations in DNA methylation and gene expression in early childhood (0 – 5 years).

Details about the 2018 Rising Star Awards:

This award is limited to translational research on bipolar disorder.

Examples of research within scope include, but are not limited to, studies that aim to:

  • Discover biological mechanisms for bipolar disorder;
  • Identify or validate biomarkers of bipolar disorder;
  • Develop targeted therapies aimed at preventing the onset or progression of bipolar disorder, or therapies aimed at promoting recovery;
  • Characterize similarities and differences in biological mechanisms between bipolar disorder and one or more neuropsychiatric disorders; and/or
  • Evaluate the effects of co-morbid conditions on bipolar disorder.

This award aims to accelerate secondary analysis of large and complex clinical data for hypothesis generation, validation, and/or bi-directional translational research. Collaborative studies with neuropsychiatric research consortia to accelerate the collection, curation, integration and/or analysis of large, complex clinical data are within scope.

Examples of research within scope include, but are not limited to, studies that aim to:

  • Validate promising biomarkers or diagnostic tools:
  • Identify similarities and differences between two or more neuropsychiatric disorders;
  • Understand the effects of co-morbid conditions of neuropsychiatric disorders;
  • Compare the effects of treatments on whole or select patient populations; or
  • Generate new hypotheses from existing clinical data, and test them in relevant pre-clinical or computational models, or in small pilot clinical studies.

Applicants to any of the three Rising Star Award categories whose proposal can be enhanced by optical interrogation of neural circuit/ensemble dynamics are encouraged to apply for this supplemental award from Inscopix. The supplement for each awardee includes:

  • 1 state-of-the-art nVoke miniature microscope system for integrated in vivo Ca+2 imaging and optogenetics (simultaneous or sequential) in the brains of freely behaving mice. Applicants can request an nVista system in lieu of nVoke should their proposal require only Ca+2 imaging either in the mouse brain and/or in the rat neocortex and hippocampus.
  • Full scientific support including a dedicated Field Scientific Consultant for the duration of the project to provide on-site training and guidance to the awardees, from experimental design to data analysis. The award will also provide an opportunity to engage with Inscopix’s transdisciplinary team of neuroscientists, data scientists, and engineers.
  • Full technical support including iCare (no questions asked repair and replacement service, for the duration of the award).

For complete details and scope parameters for the Inscopix Technology Supplement Grant, please read the 2018 Rising Star Award RFP.

This award is directed toward translational research on neuropsychiatric disorders.

Examples of research within scope include, but are not limited to, studies that aim to:

  • Discover biological mechanisms of neuropsychiatric disorder(s);
  • Identify or advance biomarker development for neuropsychiatric disorder(s);
  • Develop targeted therapies to prevent the onset or progression of neuropsychiatric disorders, mitigate their negative effects on brain function and behavior, or promote recovery;
  • Characterize similarities and differences in biological mechanisms between two or more neuropsychiatric disorders; or
  • Evaluate the effects of co-morbid conditions on neuropsychiatric disorders.

Past Rising Star Awardees:

Dr. Alik S. Widge 2017 One Mind / Janssen Rising Star Translational Research Award in Memory of Jeffrey S. Nye M.D., Ph.D.. Engineering Brain Circuits to Improve Mental Flexibility. Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Ian Maze – 2017 Rising Star Early Diagnostics Basic Research Award. Predicting depression risk and treatment response through blood chemistry. Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Dr. Kate Fitzgerald 2016 One Mind / AIM for Mental Health Rising Star Research Award. Effortful control of training: a brain-targeted intervention for clinically anxious preschoolers. University of Michigan.

Dr. Mazen Kheirbek – 2016 One Mind / Janssen Rising Star Translational Research Award. Illuminating Circuit Based Targets for Treatment of Depression. University of California, San Francisco.

Dr. Mary Kay Lobo – 2016 One Mind / Janssen Rising Star Translational Research Award. Stabilizing Neuronal Architecture for Depression Therapeutics. University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Dr. Katie McLaughlin2015 One Mind / AIM Rising Star Award. Understanding How Stress Causes Anxiety and Depression in Youth. University of Washington until July 2018, Harvard University July 2018.

Dr. Conor Liston – 2015 Janssen / One Mind Rising Star Translational Research Award. Neurobiologically Distinguishing Depression Subtypes. Weill Cornell Medical College.

Dr. Jean-Martin Beaulieu – 2014 One Mind / Johnson & Johnson Rising Star Translational Research Award. Developing Potentially Safer Bipolar Disorder Treatments. University of Toronto.

Dr. Stephanie Dulawa – 2014 One Mind Rising Star Depression Award in Memory of George Largay. Developing Faster-Onset Antidepressants. University of California, San Diego.

Dr. Philip Corlett – 2013 Janssen / One Mind Rising Star Translational Research Award. Potassium Channels and Prediction Error: Targeting Schizophrenia with Retigabine. Yale University.

Dr. Kafui Dzirasa – 2013 Janssen / One Mind Rising Star Translational Research Award. Closed Loop Actuators to Repair Brain Circuit Dysfunction. Duke University.

Dr. Scott Russo – 2012 Johnson & Johnson / One Mind Rising Star Translational Research Award. Investigating the Anti-Depressant Efficacy of Anti-Inflammatory Medications. Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Dr. Colleen McClung – 2012 Johnson & Johnson / One Mind Rising Star Translational Research Award. Investigating Specific HDAC Gene Inhibition as a Novel Bipolar Disorder Treatment. University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Dr. Ming-Hu Han – 2011 Johnson & Johnson / IMHRO Rising Star Translational Research Award. Understanding Stress Resilience to Remedy Depression. Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Dr. Jun Li – 2011 Johnson & Johnson / One Mind Rising Star Translational Research Award. Seeking Out High-Risk Bipolar Disorder Candidate Genes. University of Michigan.

Dr. Lisa Monteggia – 2011 One Mind Rising Star Basic Research Award. Reverse-Engineering the Rapid Antidepressant Effect of Ketamine. University of Texas Southwestern at Dallas.

Dr. Joshua Gordon – 2010 One Mind Rising Star Award. Investigating the Circuit Basis for Psychiatric Diseases. Columbia University.

Dr. Herman Wolosker – 2010 One Mind Rising Star Award. Rebalancing a Novel Neurotransmitter to Treat Schizophrenia. Technion Institute, Israel.

Dr. Olivier Berton – 2010 One Mind Rising Star Award. Evaluating How to Use Stress-Governing Proteins to Diagnose, Treat or Prevent Affective Disorders. University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Dr. Andrew Pieper – 2009 One Mind Rising Star Award. Developing Potential Therapies for Schizophrenia and Neurodegenerative Diseases. University of Iowa.

Dr. Francis Lee – 2009 One Mind Rising Star Award. Investigating the Role of a Growth Factor Deficiency in Affective Disorders. Weill Cornell Medical College.

Dr. Hongjun Song – 2009 One Mind Rising Star Award. Understanding a Schizophrenia Susceptibility Gene’s Effect on Neural Growth. Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Dr. Schahram Akbarian – 2008 Staglin Music Festival / NARSAD Rising Star Award. Discovering the Workings of the Epigenome. University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Dr. Akira Sawa – 2007 Staglin Music Festival / NARSAD Rising Star Award. Understanding Why DISC1 is a Schizophrenia Risk Gene – And What to Do About It. Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Dr. Eva Anton – 2006 Staglin Music Festival / NARSAD Rising Star Award. Demonstrating the NRG1 Gene as an Interneuron Migration Governor. University of North Carolina.

Dr. Linda Brzustowicz – 2005 Staglin Music Festival / NARSAD Rising Star Award. Identifying Schizophrenia Gene Interaction and Expression. Rutgers University.

See Geographically Where the Rising Star Awardees Are From:

Click the map below to see where each of the past Rising Star Award winners are from. The interactive map lists each awardee’s affiliated university, the year they won their award and the focus of their award-supported research.

Read about past Rising Star Awardees and other One Mind funded researchers on our Research Updates page.

For more information on the Rising Star Awards, please contact us.

The 2019 Rising Star Awards application will be available on this page by March 2019.

For more information on the Rising Star Awards, please contact us.