Bulik awarded Distinguished Investigator Grant by Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

Cynthia M. Bulik, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Eating Disorders and Founding Director of the UNC Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders, is one of 17 scientists awarded a Distinguished Investigator Grant from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation. Bulik's project, Binge Eating Disorder Genetics Initiative (BEGIN), will focus on the genetics of binge eating disorders.

Bulik awarded Distinguished Investigator Grant by Brain & Behavior Research Foundation click to enlarge Cynthia M. Bulik, PhD

Cynthia M. Bulik, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Eating Disorders and Founding Director of the UNC Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders, is one of 17 scientists recently awarded a Distinguished Investigator Grant from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation.

Recipients of the $100,000, one-year grants are seeking new potential targets for understanding and treating a wide range of neuropsychiatric disorders that affect one in five people, including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), eating disorders, schizophrenia, and psychosis. 

Dr. Bulik's proposal, Binge Eating Disorder Genetics Initiative (BEGIN), is a large-scale investigation that is designed to identify genes that contribute to bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder.  

Recipients of the 2017 Distinguished Investigator Grants were selected by the Foundation’s Scientific Council, which is composed of 176 leading experts across disciplines in brain and behavior research, including two Nobel Laureates; two former directors of the National Institute of Mental Health, as well as the current director; four recipients of the National Medal of Science; 13 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 26 chairs of psychiatric departments, and 52 members of the National Academy of Medicine. 

 “By funding creative research that explores new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat psychiatric disorders, the Distinguished Investigator Grants support and encourage established scientists to advance our understanding about mental illness, and brain and behavior disorders,” said foundation president and CEO Jeffrey Borenstein, MD. “These grants serve as seed capital for new approaches that might otherwise go unfunded.” 

“As funds for research from the National Institutes of Health have declined by 20 percent over the past decade, the foundation’s Distinguished Investigator Program has become extraordinarily important for the field and its potential to help severe mental illness,” said Jack D. Barchas, MD, Chair and Barklie McKee Henry Professor of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College, and Psychiatrist-in-Chief at Weill Cornell Medical College, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and Paine Whitney Clinic, who chairs the Scientific Council’s Distinguished Investigator selection committee. “This year’s Distinguished Investigators use a remarkable range of methodologies to sharpen current treatments and define potential new targets, including previously unstudied or understudied neuroregulators, interactions and circuits, using newer and more precise methods and improved psychosocial approaches. We were impressed by the variety of new approaches, which could prove helpful or even transformative, and will be supported by this seed capital,” he added. “These include studies focusing on the immune system; looking at pre-birth events and stressors of all types; and examining large important databases for new clues.”