« Blog

Previously, we introduced you to our Research Grant Program, our contribution to advance groundbreaking research into OCD and related disorders. (Please read our Research Grant Fund blog post here.) We are proud to have awarded 145 research grants worth nearly $11 million for projects that have informed our understanding of OCD and related disorders, such as body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), hoarding disorder, and tic disorders.

We are sincerely grateful to community members like you who fund these grants promoting cutting-edge research by donating to our Research Grant Fund.

Here, we dive a bit deeper into our Research Grant Program and Grant Fund. How do they work, and what kinds of research have we funded? What are some resulting highlights? What will the Program look like in 2024? And, most importantly, how can you make a difference?

Topics and Highlights

Since 1994, our grants have funded OCD and related disorders research with a scope that expands every year. We receive dozens of excellent proposals from laboratories and teams each year. Expert reviewers select the highest-ranked proposals for funding. They determine these to be the most scientifically sound and sure to make an impact.

Because of the nature of research, it can take many years for teams to get participants and supplies, conduct their studies, analyze their data, and communicate their findings to scientists and the public through academic journals and the media. This can seem like a long time. However, we benefit from the knowledge that is so carefully gathered. We gain a stronger understanding of how OCD and related disorders work. And we are able to help more people receive effective treatments.

So far, research teams across eight countries have explored:

  • improving psychotherapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure and response prevention (ERP);
  • how medications like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) work to reduce symptoms;
  • how genes and certain brain regions play a role in OCD and related disorders;
  • testing effective online and remote access to treatment;
  • how neuroinflammation is linked to PANDAS/PANS;
  • how neuromodulation that specifically targets brain regions can help reduce OCD symptoms;

…and many more crucial topics and cutting-edge treatments.

Here are highlights from three recently completed studies:

During four weeks of intensive treatment, patients with OCD began to produce melatonin earlier. The time when they went to sleep, their length of sleep, and circadian rhythms shifted toward general population averages. (Jacob Nota, 2019 Award)

An animal model showed that antibodies from human patients with PANDAS attached themselves to certain brain regions in mice, and PANDAS symptoms improved in those mice after intravenous immunoglobulin (IvIg) treatment. This provides evidence for the relationship between antibodies and symptoms of PANDAS. (Luciana Frick, 2015 Award).

A 12–14 week course of CBT given to children with OCD was associated with a decrease in glutamate (an important “messenger” neurotransmitter) in a brain region associated with emotion, conflict, and social recognition. (Erika Nurmi, 2015)

Learn more about each grant and follow the progress of ongoing studies.

The Future of Research: 2024 Research Grant Program

The 2024 Research Grant Program will solicit proposals for the Breakthrough Award and Michael Jenike Young Investigator Award categories. More information is available here, but here are a few highlights:

  1. We are incredibly grateful to the Selig family for generously supporting a $500,000 Breakthrough Award for an established research team whose proposal will focus on OCD.
  2. Our 2024 Topic of Interest — Increasing Access to Treatment for All — is a special call for proposals related to improving access to treatment for underserved and underrepresented groups, such as rural communities, people with lower socioeconomic status, and racial, ethnic, and sexual and gender minority groups.

(While this is our Topic of Interest for the 2024 Research Grant Program, suitable proposals for other OCD and related disorders topics will also be considered!)

How you can make a difference

Each year, thousands of community members like you band together and give to fund these research grant awards. 100% of Research Grant Fund donations support the Michael Jenike Young Investigator Awards, and the more we raise, the more research grants we are able to award. Learn more and make a donation to support research today!


Interested in higher-level giving opportunities to fund a full research grant award? Contact our Senior Development Manager Kristen Lynch at klynch@iocdf.org to learn more and discuss your options.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *