Newswise — (NEW YORK – Sept 28, 2015) Researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have been awarded $9.9 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study how dietary supplements based on chemicals found in grapes can promote psychological health and resilience to stresses and trauma that frequent the lives of most people. The new center, led by Giulio Maria Pasinetti, MD, PhD, Saunders Family Chair and Professor of Neurology, Icahn School of Medicine, is a partnership between several institutions and will employ a team of 30 researchers.

“It is essential to understand how resilience, also commonly known as mental toughness, can be enhanced in order to master daily life’s challenges,” said Dr. Pasinetti, Principal Investigator for the new center. “This center grant will pull together diverse levels of expertise from Mount Sinai’s Departments of Neurology, Neuroscience, Genetics and Genomic Sciences and the Friedman Brain Institute to advance the understanding of how to promote psychological and cognitive resilience through the use of botanical dietary supplements. Our plan is for the center’s research to result in safe, easily assessable and applicable drugs or dietary supplements to alleviate the means of stress leading to depression.”

Over the past decade, there has been increased focus on the study of resilience, which is the ability to maintain normal psychological and physical functioning and avoid serious mental illness, even when exposed to stress and trauma. Psychological stressors such as social stress or sleep deprivation may trigger mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. The grant will create a new Mount Sinai research center that seeks to understand the role of supplements derived from grapes, known as polyphenols, in potentially protecting against stressful events. In addition, scientists will also study the role of human gut bacteria and related genetics (the microbiome) in the promotion of psychological health.

“Mount Sinai is proud to be a leader in interdisciplinary studies on the understanding and promotion of resilience,” said Dennis S. Charney, MD, Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Dean of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, President for Academic Affairs, Mount Sinai Health System and co-author of the book, Resilience: The Science of Mastering Life’s Greatest Challenges. “Dr. Pasinetti has assembled an outstanding team of interdisciplinary scientists to advance understanding of the mechanisms through which complex botanical dietary supplements may affect human health and resilience.”

This research is supported by a grant (AT008661) from the NIH's Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), and will be dispensed over five years, pending available funds. Partnering institutions of the newly-funded center include Purdue University, Rutgers University and the University of North Texas.

About the Mount Sinai Health System

The Mount Sinai Health System is an integrated health system committed to providing distinguished care, conducting transformative research, and advancing biomedical education. Structured around seven hospital campuses and a single medical school, the Health System has an extensive ambulatory network and a range of inpatient and outpatient services—.from community-based facilities to tertiary and quaternary care.

The System includes approximately 6,100 primary and specialty care physicians; 12 minority-owned free-standing ambulatory surgery centers; more than 140 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and 31 affiliated community health centers. Physicians are affiliated with the renowned Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, which is ranked among the highest in the nation in National Institutes of Health funding per investigator. Seven departments at The Mount Sinai Hospital and one at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary (NYEE) ranked nationally in the top 25 in the 2015-2016 “Best Hospitals” issue of U.S. News & World Report. Mount Sinai’s Kravis Children’s Hospital also is ranked in seven out of ten pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report.

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