The XXIst World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics opened today (October 17, 2013), in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, with this year’s theme being “Redefining Mental Illnesses Through Genetics.” The five-day conference, organized by the International Society of Human Genetics (ISPG), is being attended by nearly 900 of the world’s leading research and clinical experts on psychiatric diseases such as autism, schizophrenia, and major depressive disorder. Approximately 300 of these scientists have come from outside the United States. The scientists are discussing the latest developments in their fast-moving field and describing their visions of a brighter future that their work will hopefully provide, in terms of testing, treatments, and possibly even cures. On this opening day, Francis McMahon, M.D., a principal investigator at the National Institute of Mental Health, and president of the ISPG, commented to BioQuick that “the Congress program, coupled with the number and caliber of the attendees, is indicative of the steep curve of discovery in the field. With increases in sample sizes, advances in technology, and all the bright people involved, it is very likely that we will make discoveries in the next decade that will help patients and also help psychiatrists deliver better treatments.” The keynote address for the Congress was delivered by George Church, Ph.D., professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School, director of PersonalGenomes.org, and universally acknowledged technical wizard who has invented numerous sequencing technologies over the years and been involved in the launches of numerous biotech companies. He is also one of six scientists who proposed the new BRAIN Initiative, which was announced on April 2, 2013 by President Obama, and intends to map the activity of every neuron in the human brain. Dr.
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