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BioMed X Starts New Schizophrenia Research Program with Boehringer Ingelheim

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BioMed X has announced the start of a new joint research group in collaboration with Boehringer Ingelheim at the BioMed X Innovation Center in Heidelberg. The aim of the new research project is to investigate myelination deficits of the adolescent brain in connection with the development of schizophrenia.

Psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia emerge as consequence of abnormal brain development and maturation. During adolescence, the brain is reorganized for mature function by processes such as cortical myelination, dendritic arborization, synaptic pruning, and circuit plasticity. Particularly in schizophrenia, there is evidence that genetic, epigenetic and environmental factors negatively affect the balanced functional maturation during adolescence and cumulatively increase the risk for developing symptoms.

The new group supported by Boehringer Ingelheim will specifically investigate the myelination deficits, which have been observed in the brains of schizophrenia patients. The approach includes the development of in vitro and in vivo platforms to study oligodendrocyte development and myelination. The goal of the project is to identify novel extrinsic (neuronal) and intrinsic (oligodendrocytic) factors affecting myelination as potential new targets for the prevention of schizophrenia in high-risk individuals.