Emory University’s Yerkes National Primate Research Center and Brain Health Center have received a grant to continue innovative research on oxytocin at the University’s Silvio O. Conte Center for Oxytocin and Social Cognition, according to an Emory University press release.
The five-year, $12.7 million grant is from the National Institute of Mental Health. The research team, which includes researchers at Yerkes and Emory as well as the University of Arizona, will focus on oxytocin, a brain chemical known for establishing mother-infant bonds, the release said.
The research will also use cutting-edge technologies, including CRISPR gene editing and optogenetics, in research with rodents and nonhuman primates to understand how oxytocin acts in the brain, including its role in neural communication and social functioning.
“We want to translate this knowledge to treatments to improve social functioning in disorders such as autism, schizophrenia and other psychiatric conditions,” Dr. Larry Young, who will lead the Conte Center team, said.
Young is chief of the Division of Behavioral Neuroscience and Psychiatric Disorders at the Yerkes Research Center, director of the Center for Translational Social Neuroscience at Emory and professor of psychiatry in Emory’s School of Medicine.
In addition to the focused research projects, the Silvio O. Conte Center for Oxytocin and Social Cognition will facilitate outreach activities to local schools and the Atlanta community.