The gift, which boosts the foundation's support for bipolar research at U-M to $10 million, will fund ongoing research projects and establish a professorship in the Department of Psychiatry at Michigan Medicine. The gift includes $500,000 for the university's Precision Health initiative and will create a Tam Precision Health & Bipolar Collaboration Fund as part of the initiative. Launched in 2018, Precision Health provides researchers with access to genetic and clinical data, tools, expertise, and training to advance their research. Nearly six million Americans have bipolar disorder, a complex mental health condition marked by a series of manic highs and depressed lows.
The foundation previously provided support for U-M's Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Program, which has been collecting genetic samples and other data from those with bipolar illness for more than thirteen years.
"Precision health could help doctors figure out the right medicine to give to a particular patient, much more quickly, and could expand their toolbox through new discoveries," said Tam Foundation president Judith Tam. "We've got brilliant people here, and I've seen the passion in their eyes when they talk about their research. They're not just doing their work and going home. They are on fire."
"Precision Health is developing unprecedented insights into human health and disease, and I'm grateful to Judith Tam for her generous support," said U-M president Mark Schlissel. "This gift from the Richard Tam Foundation will enhance our bipolar disorder research by taking advantage of the genetic and lab test data platform assembled by Precision Health at U-M, resulting in improved care for millions of patients."