Team EPD Showcased at APA TV

Early Intervention in Psychiatric Diseases, a collaboration between Boehringer Ingelheim & BioMed X, profiled at the American Psychiatric Association Meeting

BioMed X group EPD presented their work in a short movie broadcast at the American Psychiatric Association (APA) annual meeting this year in New Orleans (May 21 – 25, 2022).

The Early Intervention in Psychiatric Diseases (EPD) research project was launched in 2020 as the second neuroscience (and fourth overall) collaboration between Boehringer Ingelheim and the BioMed X Institute. With a partnership that started in 2015, Boehringer Ingelheim is one of the oldest industry partners of the BioMed X Institute. The vision of BioMed X, to seed biomedical innovation by combining the best of two worlds – academia and industry – aligns with Boehringer Ingelheim’s aim to bring precision to psychiatry by bridging the gap between neurobiology and psychiatry. Subscribing to this aim, team EPD’s research focuses on investigating myelination defects in schizophrenia patients.

Investigating Hypomyelination in Schizophrenia

In this movie featured in the APA TV portion of the APA annual meeting, Dr. Ebru Ercan-Herbst, the group leader of team EPD, talks about how the idea of this project was developed. One of the postdoctoral researchers in her team, Dr. Silvia De Cicco, explains how certain aspects of of schizophrenia pathology can be modeled “in a dish”. PhD student Martina von der Bey and research assistant Nihan Yildirim are also featured in this video, along with the beautiful microscopy images they generated in this currently ongoing project.

RDoC-Based Precision Psychiatry

The work of team EPD is explained in the context of the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) framework for investigating mental disorders. An initiative of the US National Institute of Mental Health, the goal of RDoC is to promote innovative research approaches that will help us understand the nature of psychiatric diseases in terms of varying degrees of dysfunction in different psychological and biological processes.

Schizophrenia affects approximately 1 in 300 people, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Schizophrenia is a neurodevelopmental disorder with the first symptoms appearing around adolescence or early adulthood. A neurodevelopmental process that is ongoing during this period is myelination.

Myelination is the process by which cells called oligodendrocytes produce layers of myelin that wrap around the neuronal axons, acting as insulation for action potential transmission along these axons.

This movie was sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim.

Team EPD

Team EPD

Schizophrenia as being a neurodevelopmental disorder, shows aberrations not only in structure, wiring and chemistry of multiple neuronal systems but also in myelination. The team is interested in deciphering the causes of this so far untapped pathology occurring due to myelination deficits.

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Would you like to get in touch with team EPD?

Please contact Dr. Ebru Ercan-Herbst, the Group Leader of team EPD.

Dr. Ebru Ercan-Herbst

Group Leader