From the WUSTL Newsroom…
Andrew and Barbara Taylor and the Crawford Taylor Foundation, the charity of the entire Jack C. Taylor family, have committed $20 million to the Department of Psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis to advance the science underlying the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric illnesses. The gift was announced as university leaders launched Leading Together: The Campaign for Washington University, a historic effort to enhance Washington University’s leadership here and abroad.
“Barbara, our family, and I believe it is important to take a public position in supporting the science that holds great hope for many individuals and their families,” says Andy Taylor, chair of the Leading Together campaign and chief executive officer of Enterprise Holdings, the St. Louis-based company that operates the Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car brands. “Our investment in this campaign reflects our confidence in the leadership of Dr. Charles Zorumski, head of the Department of Psychiatry, as well as our appreciation of adjunct professor Dr. Luis Giuffra, who deepened our understanding of the great need for this effort.”
The gift will fund the Taylor Family Institute for Innovative Psychiatric Research, a center focused on developing new and more effective therapies for psychiatric disorders. Although current medications are helpful, many have major limitations in terms of their effectiveness and potential side effects. And often, psychiatric drugs do not target the fundamental mechanisms in the brain that contribute to illness.
Scientists at the Taylor Family Institute for Innovative Psychiatric Research initially will focus their attention on neurosteroids, chemicals in the brain that are involved in regulating cognition, emotion and motivation. Changes in neurosteroid levels can be associated with mood disorders such as depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, alcoholism, sleep disorders, chronic pain, epilepsy, and neurodegenerative illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease.
The institute’s first director will be Charles F. Zorumski, MD, the Samuel B. Guze Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobiology and head of the Department of Psychiatry.
“The Taylors’ gift will do incredible things for the field of psychiatry,” he says. “Resources of this magnitude will allow us to pursue the development of new therapies to benefit patients who struggle with psychiatric illnesses. We believe this support will help us to capitalize on existing scientific and clinical expertise at Washington University to develop innovative and more effective treatments.”
For more from Jim Dryden of the WUSTL Newsroom, click here.