About our Research Program

What makes a person bipolar, prone to manic highs and deep, depressed lows? Why is it so hard to find new treatments for a condition that affects millions of people worldwide?

The Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Program’s goals are to discover the fundamental biological changes that cause bipolar disorder and develop new interventions to treat and prevent the illness. This is done through the study of the longitudinal course of the illness in people who are diagnosed with bipolar. Research involves biology (including genetics), clinical, and environmental features. Bipolar disorder has a biological foundation, and is influenced by personal, social and environmental surroundings. An integrated research approach is needed in order to understand the individual with the disease.

Bipolar disorder is an illness that has been with mankind since recorded history. Research is essential to both treat and prevent bipolar disorder in future generations. Prechter research emphasizes strategies to identify the illness at earlier stages of development, and among people with established bipolar disorder to test methods to predict emerging episodes of mania and depression. People with bipolar disorder do live productive lives, yet many suffer unnecessarily.

Enormous progress has been made toward finding the answers to these fundamental questions in the field of neuroscience. Researchers at the Prechter Program, under the leadership of Melvin McInnis, M.D., are at the vanguard of the science of bipolar disorder.

Our Mission:

The mission of the Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Program is to discover the mechanisms that contribute to bipolar disorder, predict and improve outcomes, and develop effective, innovative treatments.

Our Vision:

We are building a future where personalized and evidence-based treatments for bipolar disorder will enable every individual with the illness to lead a healthy and productive life.

The Prechter Program is based at the University of Michigan Depression Center and encompasses many major research projects. For more information, please see our pages on the Prechter Projects.