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Strategy 1.3

Identify and integrate biological markers (biomarkers) and behavioral indicators associated with mental disorders.

NIMH encourages studies that go beyond current diagnostic boundaries to seek biomarkers associated with domains of function (e.g. emotion regulation, executive function, impulsivity, social communication, and memory). Of greatest interest are biomarkers that influence practice because they predict treatment or prognosis.

Research Priorities

  1. Develop integrated profiles/panels of clinically relevant and validated biomarkers and behavioral indicators (e.g., genes, proteins, brain images, behaviors, or a combination), creating “biosignatures” of disorders.

    Priority areas include:

    1. Identifying and validating high sensitivity and specificity biomarkers that define valid subtypes of the major mental illnesses.
    2. Determining the heritability for identified biomarkers.
    3. Facilitating collection and deposition of genetic samples and other biomaterials from large, deeply phenotyped cohort studies (e.g., imaging and neuropsychological) to promote integrated analyses and accelerate the identification and validation of biomarkers and biosignatures.
  2. Identify biomarkers and behavioral indicators for different stages of illness and recovery (e.g., onset vs. relapse, risk vs. resilience).

    Priority areas include:

    1. Identifying and validating biomarkers for risk, early stage (prodrome), and symptomatic phases of illness.

Back to Strategic Objective 1 Overview