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Assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience Keely Muscatell’s research addresses the topic of how race-related stress affects the brain among Black Americans with schizophrenia.

Keely Muscatell wearing a face mask in front of the South Building at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Keely Muscatell

Keely Muscatell, assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience, has been awarded a prestigious Young Investigator Grant from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation.

The grants, awarded annually, support the work of early career investigators with innovative ideas for groundbreaking neurobiological research seeking to identify causes, improve treatments and develop prevention strategies for psychiatric disorders.

The goal of Muscatell’s research is to promote mental health equity. Muscatell notes that Black Americans are diagnosed with schizophrenia at twice the rate as white Americans and have comparatively poorer functional outcomes.

“My research focuses on the role that race-related stressors, like discrimination, may play, and uses innovative neuroscience approaches to capture how neural responses to race-related stress may lead to more severe symptoms of schizophrenia for Black individuals,” she said.

Since 1987, the Foundation has awarded more than $418 million in research grants to more than 6,000 scientists globally. The recipients were selected by the Foundation’s Scientific Council, comprised of 181 leading experts across disciplines in brain and behavior research. This year, the Foundation’s Scientific Council reviewed 1,012 applications to select the 150 Young Investigators.

“BBRF Young Investigators represent a new generation of scientists who will pioneer breakthroughs in mental health research,” said Jeffrey Borenstein, president and CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation. “With these grants, outstanding researchers are able to pursue bold new ideas to answer important questions or help identify potentially game-changing targets for treatment. The awards function as seed funding for new directions that would otherwise be highly unlikely.”

For more detailed information about the Young Investigator Grant recipients, click here.

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