The Hartwell Foundation honors Pieper

 The Hartwell Foundation has named Dr. Andrew Pieper, assistant professor of psychiatry, the co-winner of its first Biomedical Research Collaboration Award, which will provide funding for his studies of potential new drug treatments for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Dr. Pieper will collaborate on the new project with Dr. Guoping Feng from Duke University, with the goal of developing more-effective treatments for OCD and related psychiatric disorders that affect children. He previously received a Hartwell Individual Bio­medical Research Award in 2006 to support his work examining small molecules for their possible use in treating childhood schizophrenia.

“Through our collaborative approach, we are seeking to use an animal model of OCD to identify safe and efficient small molecules in living animals, in hopes of quickly progressing promising candidates for OCD drug development at an early stage of discovery,” Dr. Pieper said.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is one of the most common and debilitating psychiatric disorders. It affects about 2 percent to 3 percent of the U.S. population, with approximately half of patients first experiencing symptoms during childhood or adolescence.

“The combination of expertise and resources of the two co-investigators at these outstanding institutions leverage a powerful platform to identify novel drug candidates, not only for potential treatment of OCD, but possibly other related psychiatric disorders, as well,” said Dr. Frederick Dombrose, president of The Hartwell Foundation.

Amanda Siegfried