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BD² Announces $18 Million in Grants to Understand Biology of Bipolar Disorder

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BD²: Breakthrough Discoveries for Thriving with Bipolar Disorder has recently declared its inaugural round of Discovery Research grants, amassing a total of $18 million. This significant financial commitment is aimed at fostering collaboration and directing concentrated funding towards understanding the biology of bipolar disorder.

Key Highlights:

  1. Multidisciplinary Approach: The grants will be awarded to multidisciplinary teams of scientists and clinicians from prestigious institutions such as Yale University, Stanford University, New York Genome Center, and the Wyss Institute at Harvard University. Each of these teams is set to receive up to $4.5 million over a span of three years. Their primary objective is to delve deep into the fundamental mechanisms that underpin bipolar disorder.
  2. Emphasis on Stem Cells and Genetics:
    • Dr. Hilary Blumberg from Yale University will spearhead a team to study mitochondrial-related genes and the pivotal role of energy and activity-related symptoms during the onset of bipolar episodes.
    • Dr. Julie Kauer from Stanford University will focus on the biological mechanisms, particularly those associated with sleep and mania-like behaviors.
    • Dr. Thomas Lehner of the New York Genome Center will utilize multiple stem cell techniques to decipher the genetic foundations of bipolar disorder, especially in individuals of African descent.
    • Dr. Jenny Tam from the Wyss Institute at Harvard University will investigate the molecular mechanisms of prevalent bipolar treatments and the pathophysiology of the disorder.
  3. Future Funding: Following the success and positive reception of the initial round, BD² has also unveiled its second round of funding. This move is designed to invite more research teams to apply for similar grant amounts, thereby expanding the scope of research in this domain.
  4. A Collaborative Vision: Cara Altimus, PhD, the managing director for BD², emphasized the importance of these grants in broadening the understanding of bipolar disorder. She highlighted that these teams would not only work within their institutions but also collaborate across teams to explore the biological causes of the disorder.
  5. BD²’s Broader Impact: In its inaugural year, BD² has already allocated over $60 million towards research that expedites the scientific comprehension of bipolar disorder. This is achieved through interdisciplinary collaboration, data sharing, and real-time learning.


BD²’s commitment to understanding bipolar disorder, especially through the lens of stem cells and genetics, is commendable. Their collaborative and open-science approach, combined with significant funding, holds the promise of transforming the lives of millions affected by this disorder. This initiative is not just a testament to the potential of stem cell research in understanding complex disorders but also a beacon of hope for those living with bipolar disorder.

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