Psych Tank Funding Competition: Innovation Acceleration

The Eisenberg Family Depression Center hosted the inaugural Psych Tank Funding Competition event on September 19, 2022. 

This live pitch event featured research teams from across the University of Michigan competing for up to $150,000 in funding to rapidly investigate innovative ideas in depression and bipolar disorder research. Competitors presented their ideas in front of a panel of judges and live audience. 

Breakthrough Awards

The following interdisciplinary research teams were awarded rapid funding for their high-impact research projects. Each project should be completed within 2 year of award. 

First Place - $150,000 Breakthrough Award Winner
“You Are What You Eat: Food as a Risk Factor and Treatment for Depression”
Presented by Ashley Gearhardt, Ph.D.
Co-investigators: Joyce Lee, M.D., M.P.H. and Kendrin Sonneville, Sc.D., R.D.
Second Place - $75,000 Breakthrough Award Winner
“Mental health care for ALL kids! What are we waiting for?”
First Place - $150,000 Breakthrough Award Winner
Sandra Graham-Bermann, Ph.D.
Co-Investigators: Andrew Grogan-Kaylor, Ph.D.; Cecilia Votta, Ph.D.

Third Place - $50,000 Breakthrough Award Winner
“Rhythm and Blues: Changing the Clock to Breakthrough in Bipolar Disorder”
Leslie Swanson, Ph.D. 
Co-Investigators: Helen Burgess, Ph.D., Melvin McInnis, M.D.; and Sarah Sperry, Ph.D.

Seeds of Change Awardees

The following interdisciplinary research teams were awarded mini-grants of $10,000 for their low-resource, high-impact research projects. Each project should be completed within 1 year of award.

“Novel Cognitive Training Video Game to Target - Subclinical Depressive Symptoms in Youth”
Hannah Becker, PhD Candidate
Co-Investigators: Adriene Beltz, Ph.D.; Emily Bilek, Ph.D.; Kate Fitzgerald Ph.D.; and Christopher Monk, Ph.D.
“Impact of Boarding on Children and Adolescents Who Require Inpatient Psychiatric Admission”
Victor Hong, M.D.
Co-Investigators: Jessica Bailey, NP; Alexander Rogers, M.D.
"Empowered @ Home: Connected"
Jay Kayser, PhD Student, School of Social Work and Department of Psychology
Co-Investigator: Xiaoling Xiang, Ph.D., MPhil, M.S.W.

More About Psych Tank:

Mental health research is at a crossroads. Despite billions of dollars dedicated to depression and bipolar disorder research, rates of mental health across the U.S. have continued to soar for decades. The time to innovate is NOW. 

The Psych Tank Funding Competition aims to uplift voices of University of Michigan researchers who aren’t afraid to think outside the box, explore new methods and collaborate across disciplines. Through impactful funding, this event seeks to validate innovative, groundbreaking ideas that will meaningfully accelerate the field of depression and bipolar disorder research. 

Winning research teams walked away with the funding to jumpstart their novel research program, and in turn positively impact our field and mental health outcomes across our communities.