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Tommy Fuss Center Research | Overview


The Tommy Fuss Center was established to advance understanding of developmental pathways leading to major neuropsychiatric disorders. The primary goals of the Center are to develop innovative strategies to identify young children at risk for anxiety, depressive, and psychotic disorders along with transformative new therapies that can limit the progression or even prevent the emergence of these disorders. 

How do behavioral disorders evolve over time? What are the mechanisms that cause developmental pathways to diverge, leading some children and adolescents to pathological disorders and others to healthy outcomes?

The Tommy Fuss Center for Neuropsychiatric Disease Research at Boston Children’s Hospital was established to understand, diagnose, and treat young children at risk of mental health problems.  Through a multifaceted program that integrates psychiatry, neuroscience, genetics, stem cell science, bioinformatics, and brain imaging, our aim is to unlock the genetics and biology of psychiatric disease, with a focus on early detection, prevention, and intervention to protect and treat the most vulnerable community of children and young adults.

Despite the high prevalence of mental health disorders among children, the causes are still poorly understood.  The Tommy Fuss Center is providing a deep look into the developing brain to penetrate the origins of psychiatric disorders.  Using increasingly sophisticated methodologies, such as genetic sequencing and imaging, we are investigating some of the most complicated  and debilitating neuropsychiatric diseases that can affect children, including schizophrenia, psychosis, anxiety, and depression.  By improving early identification techniques and intervention strategies we are transforming clinical care and bringing childhood mental illness out of the shadows into a brighter future.

The Center was founded in 2015 with a generous gift from the Tommy Fuss Fund, a foundation established by the Fuss family to promote medical research that furthers our understanding of mental illness and that develops more effective means of diagnosing and treating psychopathology.  The mutual goal of the Boston Children’s Tommy Fuss Center and the Tommy Fuss Fund is to enable research aimed at identifying risk factors and biological markers that further our understanding of how the brain works and lead us to the creation of novel, more effective treatments.

Center objectives

Understanding what causes developmental pathways to diverge into pathological or healthy outcomes and screening drugs for new therapies to change the course of disease are just a few of the center’s ambitious goals. The Tommy Fuss Center has created a cross-disciplinary program of leading researchers across Boston Children’s and partner institutions to:

  • identify very young children at risk of childhood neuropsychiatric illness
  • support innovative research into the genetic and biological causes of these illnesses
  • develop new early identification tools (both early in life and early in disease progression)
  • deliver new prevention and treatment therapies
  • train the next generation of clinical and research specialists in neuropsychiatric disease