VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota will establish the Center for Genetics & Behavioral Health with a $3.4 million grant awarded by the South Dakota Research and Commercialization Council to study the influences that contribute to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Gina Forster, Ph.D., professor of basic biomedical science and director of the Center for Brain and Behavior Research, will lead the center. It aims to place South Dakota at the forefront of personalized treatment of trauma-related illness to significantly reduce the substantial health, financial, and personal burden of PTSD and associated disorders.
"In addition to addressing a significant health problem for South Dakotans and the nation, the Center will focus on workforce development in the state,” said Forster. “Unique and workforce relevant training opportunities will be provided to undergraduate and graduate students, with transdisciplinary teams of investigators working together to better understand and treat PTSD."
In collaboration with the Avera Institute for Human Genetics, the new center will receive $3,466,300 from the South Dakota Governor’s Research Center Program over five years to study genetic and environmental influences that interact with other biological, psychological, and behavioral factors to impact PTSD.
“The goal of the Governor’s Research Center Program is threefold: to develop focused research centers that are competitive for external research funding; to develop and license inventions; and to support existing and spin off start-up companies in South Dakota,” said Nathan Lukkes, assistant vice president for research and economic development at the South Dakota Board of Regents.