Cambridge, Massachusetts

Fig. City of Boston, Massachusetts


The Broad Institute  of MIT and Harvard is an academic biomedical and genomic research center located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the United States. The institute is an independent non-profit partner with Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, and Harvard teaching hospitals. The Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research, at the Broad Institute, aims to reduce the burden of serious mental illness through research. The Stanley Center connects leading faculty and scientists from top institutions with advanced technologies for human genetic analysis to study psychiatric disorders in order to understand disease mechanisms, identify potential biomarkers, and ignite needed progress in therapeutics, with a particular focus on schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and autism. The NeuroDev study forms part of the Stanley Global initiative, which aims to: 1) expand knowledge of genetic diversity in schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and autism; 2) improve understanding of the genetics of non-European populations; and 3) increase equity in scientific discovery and its benefits through training and infrastructure development.

The NeuroDev team at the Stanley Center is led by Elise Robinson.





The Rutgers University Cell and DNA Repository (RUCDR Infinite Biologics) is the world’s largest university-based biorepository. All DNA from NeuroDev blood samples is extracted from the blood at the RUCDR laboratory. We selected a single laboratory to do this work in order to reduce any differences that come from the way samples are processed.

RUCDR also conducts the biosample processing, analysis, storage, and distribution for the National Institute of Mental Health Repository. NeuroDev will store DNA from all samples at the NIMH Repository managed by RUCDR. RUCDR Infinite Biologics is accredited by the College of American Pathologists, a worldwide leader in laboratory quality assurance. In 2012, the College accredited RUDCR through its Biorepository Accreditation Program, making the operation at Rutgers one of the first in the world to earn this designation.


NeuroDev blood and saliva samples will be sequenced at the Broad Institute Genomics Platform in Cambridge, MA. Genetic sequencing technology is rapidly changing, however the plan is at minimum to sequence the exomes (ie the DNA that codes for proteins) on all biological samples. 

Over the past ten years, the Broad Institute Genomics Platform has been one of the largest producer of human genomic information in the world. Currently, the group produces approximately 500 terabases of genomic data per month — a rate equivalent to one 30X human whole genomes every 10 minutes. The Broad Institute Genomics Platform has processed more than 2 million samples from more than 1,400 groups in more than 50 countries. The Genomics Platform is comprised of approximately 150 people who partner with scientists across the Broad community — including through CAP-accredited and CLIA-certified genomic data generation and advanced genomic analysis.

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The Laboratory for Molecular Medicine (LMM) is the laboratory through which the NeuroDev study performs clinical sequencing in order to return genetic results to participants. Clinical sequencing means genetic testing as part of treatment, rather than as part of research. Clinical sequencing done in the United States is governed by a law called the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA), and the LMM is a CLIA certified lab capable of diagnosing people based on a DNA sample, a process called a molecular diagnosis. The LMM is led by a group of Harvard Medical School-affiliated faculty, geneticists, clinicians, and researchers from two teaching hospitals in Boston, Massachusetts. The laboratory is at the forefront of the field of personalized medicine, meaning diagnosing and treating individuals based on their personal biology, rather than applying the same treatments to everyone. Each year, the LMM provide genetic testing services to more than 4,000 patients and their physicians.


NeuroDev is sending samples to the LMM to clinically confirm research findings that appear to indicate a simple
genetic cause. The LMM writes evidence-based personalized reports from the test findings and shares them with a doctor on the NeuroDev team, who returns the information to parents. Only parents who have consented for return of results and also have positive research findings will have their child’s sample sent to the LMM.


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