The Friedman Brain Institute Fall 2023

The Friedman Brain Institute Fall 2023

Fifteen Years Later, There Is Much To Celebrate at The Friedman Brain Institute

This year marks 15 years since the creation of a brain institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, which formally became The Friedman Brain Institute (FBI) in 2010. We have a great deal to celebrate.

Our scientists across numerous departments and institutes are making major discoveries that are revealing fundamental information about the brain in health and disease, which are driving impactful advances in disease diagnostics and therapeutics. In parallel, we have established one of the world’s foremost training programs for master’s, PhD, and MD/PhD students, and postdoctoral fellows, and sponsor the largest array of clinical treatment programs for patients in New York City.

How we have grown!

· We marked the milestone anniversary in May at our 15th Annual Neuroscience Retreat with a record 600 attendees—compared to fewer than 100 participants at the 2009 inaugural retreat.

· In June, we published a special supplement in Science magazine focused on frontiers in brain research, which highlights the advances we are making at the FBI in major nervous system disorders, including addiction, autism, dementia and other neurodegenerative disorders, depression, and psychosis.

· Finally, we are holding a scientific symposium on Tuesday, October 3, which will showcase the work of our talented early-career FBI faculty and trainees as they advance our basic and clinical neuroscience research in innovative ways.

This FBI newsletter adds to our celebration by focusing on how our scientists have contributed to several technologies that are responsible for the current renaissance in neuroscience.

When I was a PhD student in pharmacology ~40 years ago (there were very few neuroscience PhD programs at that time), it was not possible to provide causal, mechanistic information in our experiments. Molecules were investigated one by one, and we did not have the capability to record in vivo from a specified circuit or to functionally manipulate that circuit.

The field of neuroscience today is unrecognizable from that historical vantage point. Today, we are at an inflection point, as new projects spearheaded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health BRAIN initiative, and related efforts across the globe, drive technological advances at the molecular, cell, synaptic, circuit, systems, and behavioral levels. It is our expectation that these revolutionary experimental advances will vastly expand our knowledge—and allow us to catch up with the rest of medicine—to better diagnose, treat, and ultimately prevent the neurological and psychiatric disorders that are among the world’s greatest causes of disease burden.

With tremendous gratitude, I would like to share a few thoughts from two of our greatest supporters.

From Richard A. Friedman, Co-Chairman, Boards of Trustees, Mount Sinai Health System: “For the past 15 years—through the unprecedented growth that put the Institute on par with the very best, long-established institutions in the field—it has been very rewarding for me to know that our research is being translated into therapies that benefit our patients. Over the years, we have recruited some of the most innovative researchers to Mount Sinai, and today, they have the imagination and skills to make the groundbreaking discoveries that will have a lasting impact on human health.”

From Joshua Nash, Trustee, after whom the Nash Family Department of Neuroscience is named: In almost no time, the Department of Neuroscience has been ranked among the top four National Institutes of Health-funded departments in the nation, publishing extraordinary research and developing new therapies for some of the world’s most debilitating diseases. This speaks to the promise of their work and a collaborative commitment to expand our understanding of the complexities of the brain. This gives me great confidence they will be leaders in the next exciting wave of discoveries.”

Eric J. Nestler, MD, PhD

Nash Family Professor of Neuroscience;

Director, The Friedman Brain Institute; and Dean for Academic Affairs,

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Chief Scientific Officer,

Mount Sinai Health System