Skip to main content

Transforming the understanding
and treatment of mental illnesses.

Celebrating 75 Years! Learn More >>

Renewal of the Silvio O. Conte Centers for Basic Neuroscience or Translational Mental Health Research


Susan Koester, Ph.D.
Division of Neuroscience and Basic Behavioral Science


The purpose of the Conte Centers program is to support interdisciplinary teams of researchers engaged in novel, creative, and integrated experimental approaches to address high-risk, high-impact scientific questions in either basic neuroscience research or in translational research that will significantly advance the state of the science in brain and behavioral research to ultimately provide the foundation for understanding mental disorders and/or transform the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses, as well as developing data and other research resources that are available to the scientific community to further advance research in this field.


NIMH recognizes that basic scientific discovery powers the biomedical enterprise and therefore, remains committed to maintaining a robust and broad research portfolio that spans the full spectrum of scientific pursuits from those aimed at uncovering and dissecting the underlying biological processes (with no immediate link to mental disorders) to those more translationally designed. Conte Centers exemplify a collaborative, cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research program conducted at multiple levels of analysis that may range from understanding effects of genes to circuits to behavior to disease in model systems and humans, from the prenatal period through adulthood.

Successful Centers address a well-defined and unified scientific question (hypothesis) or problem. Center projects could include any aspect of basic neuroscience or genomics supported by NIMH or the translational integration of neuroscience with clinical questions. Center projects could also include testing in humans to identify the etiology, pathogenesis, developmental progression, potential biomarkers and/or the mechanistic substrates of potential interventions with a view towards the eventual prevention, treatment, or cure of mental disorders across the lifespan. The Conte Center program is intended to support research that demonstrates an extraordinary level of synergy, integration, and potential impact on our understanding of basic brain mechanisms and/or the pathophysiology, progression, and treatment of mental disorders. The program is intended only for projects that could not be achieved using other research project grant mechanisms. The Conte Centers program also provides an opportunity to establish interdisciplinary basic neuroscience or translational research experiences for students and postdoctoral fellows.