About CBM

Why should we study mental illness?

Mental illnesses (also called neuropsychiatric syndromes) are a major non-communicable disease affecting humans. These diseases affect young adults in the prime of life. About 2-3% of the population is at risk for developing mental disorders both in India and across the world. Therefore, the ability to develop new approaches to diagnose and treat such disorders will have considerable medical as well as socio-economic impact.



   What are Stem Cells ?

Stem cells are special cells with the unique capacity to renew themselves and give rise to specialized cell types. Pluripotent stem cells, discovered in 1998, are a subset of stem cells that have the extraordinary potential to develop into any cell type in the body. Further advances in stem cell technology in 2006 have given us the ability to generate Induced pluripotent stem cells (also known as iPS cells or iPSCs), which are pluripotent stem cells that can be generated from adult cells from a person’s body.

Thus, stem cells can be used as laboratory surrogates to recreate a broad range of damages or abnormalities seen in cells, tissues or organs during disease.  Stem cell biology has great potential in hastening breakthrough discoveries for many human diseases. 




The CBM approach

CBM is an integrative approach that links basic research with clinical studies of mental illness. Scientists from NCBS will work with clinicians from NIMHANS to explore how mental illnesses develop using human genetics and genomics coupled with stem cell technology. This program will bring together experts in molecular genetics, neurobiology and stem cell technology to create a comprehensive and long-term resource aimed at better understanding mental health issues at both the molecular and clinical levels.

The CBM is creating a cohort of young adults from families where there appears to be a high incidence of mental illness. We plan to follow these families and individuals into the future to understand how and in whom mental illness develops. These families will be examined in detail by clinicians using modern medical technology. Genetic analysis of individuals from these families will provide an insight into the genetic basis of mental illness. This program will harness the potential of stem cell technology to understand “disease in a dish” models of brain cells. Comparing cells from patients with those from people without such mental illness will provide a unique opportunity to understand the disease biology of mental disorders at the molecular, cellular and developmental levels. 


Funding and support



Will be updated soon




About CBM

Rohini Nilekani Centre for Brain and Mind (CBM)

Contact Us

National Centre for Biological Sciences,
Tata Institute of Fundamental Research
Bellary Road, Bangalore 560065,
Karnataka, India
Phone: 91 80 23666001 / 02 / 18 / 19
Email: cbm at ncbs dot res dot in