Renowned NIMH Neuroscientist Appointed Director of Brudnick Neuropsychiatric Research Institute

January 20, 2000

WORCESTER, Mass. – Edward Ginns, MD, PhD, an internationally renowned neuroscientist and geneticist, and formerly chief of the Clinical Neuroscience Branch at the National Institute of Mental Health, has been named professor of psychiatry and executive director of the Irving S. and Betty Brudnick Neuropsychiatric Research Institute. The Institute's research and training programs will help accelerate neuroscience initiatives and collaborations between basic and clinical scientists at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS). Research will focus on understanding the biological bases of mental illnesses and the development of more effective treatments and methods of prevention.

In their studies of the brain and behavior, Dr. Ginns and his colleagues will utilize the tools of neuroscience, behavioral science, imaging, genetics, cell biology and molecular biology to unlock the mysteries of mental illness. "Our focus will be on identifying genetic and environmental factors that predispose an individual to mental disorders, as well as those components that might protect individuals from developing these devastating illnesses," explained Dr. Ginns.

The Institute's research into the causes, treatment and prevention of mental disorders will be complemented by its training programs, aimed at attracting more basic and clinical researchers with expertise in a variety of fields to mental health research. Institute seminars and education programs will strengthen the efforts between physicians, basic researchers, patients and their families to understand and reduce the burden of mental illness.

Scheduled to open in the spring, the Institute is being constructed on the grounds of Worcester State Hospital, one of the oldest public psychiatric facilities in the United States. The Institute is named for Irving S. and Betty Brudnick of Weston, Massachusetts, who made a significant and generous contribution toward its establishment. "The tremendous effort that Irving and Betty Brudnick and their colleagues have put together to help make this research institute possible will have a major impact on mental health research," said Dr. Ginns.

The Institute is partially funded by the Commonwealth on behalf of the Department of Mental Health and will be operated by UMMS through its Department of Psychiatry. Paul S. Appelbaum, MD, the Arnold F. Zeleznik Professor of Psychiatry and chair of the Medical School's Department of Psychiatry, is confident that, "Under Dr. Ginns' leadership, the Brudnick Institute will be poised to take advantage of the many recent advances in techniques for exploring the biological bases of mental disorders. We are enormously excited by his coming, and by the potential contributions of the Brudnick Institute to our field."

Dr. Ginns' research focuses on inherited disorders affecting the nervous system, with an emphasis on understanding the role of genetic factors in susceptibility to and protection from mental illness. He earned his PhD from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, his MD from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and completed his neurology residency at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Ginns served as senior staff neurologist in the Developmental and Metabolic Neurology Branch, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and then as chief of the Section on Molecular Neurogenetics in the Clinical Neuroscience Branch at the National Institute of Mental Health, before obtaining his most recent position there. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Neurology and Psychiatry, and a member of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology.