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Division of Translational Research (DTR)

The NIMH Division of Adult Translational Research and Treatment Development (DATR) and the Division of Developmental Translational Research (DDTR) have merged to create the Division of Translational Research (DTR). This change is effective as of October 1, 2014. Accordingly, all information previously available on the DATR and DDTR webpages has been merged into this DTR page.

Overview

The DTR directs, plans, and supports programs of research and research training that translate knowledge from basic science to discover the etiology, pathophysiology, and trajectory of mental disorders and develops effective interventions for children and adults. DTR supports integrative, multidisciplinary research on the following areas: the phenotypic characterization and risk factors for psychiatric disorders; neurobehavioral mechanisms of psychopathology; trajectories of risk and resilience based on the interactive influences of genetics, brain development, environment, and experience; and design and testing of innovative psychosocial, psychopharmacologic, and somatic treatment interventions.

Areas of High Priority

  • Delineate specific neural circuits contributing to one or more major mental disorders or subtypes of mental disorders.
  • Develop, test, and validate biological markers (e.g., genetic, proteomic, imaging) for diagnosing or detecting risk/vulnerability, onset, progression, and/or severity of mental disorders to prevent disorders, serve as criteria to personalize treatment and evaluate treatment response.
  • Develop models to predict treatment response and vulnerability to side effects of psychotropic medications and approaches to prevent or ameliorate treatment-emergent side effects, e.g., delineate the mechanisms through which specific psychotropic medications produce adverse metabolic and cardiovascular events, and begin to develop models to predict which patients are at high risk for developing these complications.
  • Identify mechanisms (e.g., genetic, biological, behavioral, environmental) that confer vulnerability to psychiatric illnesses and develop early interventions (pharmacological and/or psychosocial) for reducing the severity and incidence of psychopathology.
  • Evaluate the safety and efficacy of novel mechanism pharmacological agents and/or behavioral interventions that target domains of psychopathology inadequately addressed by current therapies or prevention strategies.
  • Develop, test, and validate methods to assess domains of psychopathology for use in clinical trials in order to increase the efficiency of the mental illness treatment development critical path, emphasizing approaches based on partnerships with the FDA and industry.
  • Delineate neurobehavioral mechanisms responsible for the development of psychopathology, including critical and sensitive periods in brain development and the effects of sex, behavior, and experience on the brain.
  • Utilize behavioral phenotypes reflecting dimensional processes (e.g., attention, mood regulation) to maximize discovery of underlying neural systems and genes, and refine behavioral assessment tools so that they are comparable across age, species, and social experience (e.g., SES, culture).
  • Test integrative models incorporating biological, behavioral, and experiential factors in the development of psychopathology, and utilize longitudinal research to track trajectories of risk and protection based on the combined and interactive influences among these factors.
  • Based on expanded knowledge of neurobehavioral trajectories, identify early signs of risk and develop novel and targeted preventive and treatment interventions.
  • Assess the mechanisms of action of efficacious interventions in the brain.

Director (Acting)

Philip Wang, M.D.
6001 Executive Blvd., Room 8128
301.443.3673, wangphi@mail.nih.gov

Deputy Director – Adult Translational Research

Jill Heemskerk, Ph.D.
6001 Executive Blvd., Room 7127, MSC 9632
301.435.8031, heemskej@mail.nih.gov

Deputy Director – Developmental Translational Research

Kathleen C. Anderson, Ph.D.
6001 Executive Blvd., Room 7162, MSC 9617
301.443.5944, kanders1@mail.nih.gov