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A new center has been established at UNC to study the causes of bipolar disorder and develop new treatments for bipolar mood disorders.
The center will conduct clinical research studies examining the neurobiology of bipolar disorder in adults and children and the mechanisms of action of drug treatments. New studies also will examine the genetic underpinnings of brain function and brain abnormalities and the effectiveness of new drugs to treat bipolar mood disorders. Three clinical trials currently under way have received National Institutes of Health funding totaling $6 million.
The new center, named the UNC Center of Excellence for Research and Treatment of Bipolar Disorder, is housed in the School of Medicine’s department of psychiatry and headed by Dr. Jair C. Soares. Soares joined the UNC faculty this year after completing his psychiatric training at the University of Pittsburgh and Yale University Schools of Medicine. Soares also has worked at Pittsburgh’s Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic and at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonio.
Soares previously was chief of the division of mood and anxiety disorders and later vice chair for research in the department of psychiatry at Texas, where he also held the Krus Endowed Chair in psychiatry. At UNC, he is the Yeargan Distinguished Professor of psychiatry.
“We are very fortunate to have someone of Dr. Soares’ stature and ability to develop and lead our center,” said Dr. David Rubinow, Meymandi Distinguished Professor and chair of psychiatry in the UNC School of Medicine. “Bipolar disorder is a devastating illness for patients and families, and it is our obligation to provide these patients with the very best care and with the hope for the development of new and better treatments. Our new center will accomplish both of these goals.”