CSIR-CCMB to initiate studies on mental illnesses & mental health genomics jointly with Vikram Patel

New Delhi: The Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) plans to initiate studies on mental health genomics in collaboration with Prof Vikram Patel’s group to understand the predisposition of mental illnesses. Mental health genomics is an upcoming field with huge scope of research. Many mental disorders are caused by a combination of biological, psychological, environmental and genetic factors. In fact, a growing community of research has found that certain genes and gene variations are associated with mental disorders and ailments.

Prof Vikram Patel is the Pershing Square Professor of Global Health and Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow at Harvard Medical School, Boston. Prof Patel was invited as the guest of honour at the 32nd Foundation Day of CCMB, where he delivered a lecture on Transforming Mental Health Globally through Science and Action.

Prof Patel emphasized that mental health is equally important and there is need of research to understand mental health biology and bringing diverse stakeholders – health professionals, policymakers and the general public – together to destigmatize the issue and realize the changes going on.

In his lecture, he described how science has generated significant knowledge to understand the nature of mental health and how to respond to the sufferings caused by mental ill-health. He talked on how combining science may help in translating it for public welfare.

He mentioned that science alone is insufficient to make policy impact and it is important that scientists must engage with the wider community to ensure the knowledge they generate is translated into action.

“It is sad that there is no biomarker to identify mental health issues till date. We all go through different mental states of mind and they mostly go unattended. Mental health is as important as our physical health,” Prof Patel concluded. CCMB Director Rakesh Mishra also made a presentation at the event of recent studies conducted by the Institute.

Prof Patel is co-founder of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), co-Director of the Centre for Control of Chronic Conditions at the Public Health Foundation of India and co-founder of Sangath, an NGO based out of Goa that works on mental health issues at grassroots.

On Tuesday, 27 November, the CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, celebrated 32 years since its foundation as an independent present day campus in Habsiguda in 1987. In all these years, CCMB has focused on addressing cutting edge questions in modern biology and developing technologies to fulfill the unmet needs of Indians in healthcare, food and wildlife conservation.

Jyoti Singh is a contributor at India Science Wire.

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