Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has announced a $10 million commitment from Andrew and Barbara Taylor and the Crawford Taylor Foundation to advance effective diagnosis and treatment of mental illness.
The gift includes $7 million in support of continuing research at the Taylor Family Institute for Innovative Psychiatric Research and $3 million to endow a distinguished professorship at the institute, which was founded in 2012 with a $20 million gift from the couple. Over the past six years, the institute has investigated how particular brain chemicals — eurosteroids and oxysterols — affect cognition, emotion, and motivation and has identified promising new pharmaceutical medications that target the brain cell receptors affected by those chemicals. According to the institute, the medications have the potential to alleviate forms of depression that have been resistant to standard treatments, including postpartum depression.
Although the World Health Organizations estimates that psychiatric disorders affect more than eighty million individuals nationwide, many of the currently available therapies demonstrate limited effectiveness and come with side effects such as weight gain and disturbed sleep.
Andrew Taylor's father, Jack C. Taylor, founded Enterprise Rent-a-Car, and the Taylor family has long supported organizations in and around St. Louis. Andrew and Barbara Taylor previously donated $70 million to establish the Enterprise Holdings Scholars program.
"The Taylor family's initial investment to launch the institute was instrumental in helping our scientists make discoveries that hold great promise for stemming the burden of mental illness, and their continued support bolsters our ability to work on the therapeutic frontiers of psychiatry," said David H. Perlmutter, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs at WUSTL. "The institute is pursuing an exciting platform for drug development that could impact severe mental health disorders, such as schizophrenia and various forms of depression, and perhaps even Alzheimer's disease."