Year of Publication


Competition Category

Biological Sciences


Arts and Sciences




Schizophrenia is often called “the cancer of the brain” because of the lifelong, horrendous implications of the disease. Though research has been conducted on schizophrenia for a century or more, it has just recently been realized how large a role genetics may play in the development of the disease. This review will discuss why research on schizophrenia genes has been difficult, what genes have been found, how the current treatments are being revolutionized, and how to progress in this field. The difficulty in research is due in part to the complex genetics behind the disease as well as possible environmental factors. The two genes to be discussed in depth, Neuregulin 1 and SNAP-25, are notable for their complexity. Neuregulin 1 has multiple types of isoforms and genetic variants that could lead to schizophrenia and make it difficult to determine where the mutations might be. The SNAP-25 gene serves multiple purposes in various body and brain regions as an aid to release neurotransmitters, so it can be difficult to say which part of the body affected by the gene could lead to a schizophrenia diagnosis. The future of schizophrenia research could possibly involve glutamate because of its demonstrated abnormal correlation with schizophrenia. Moreover, it’s important that future research focus not only on treating symptoms, but also the patient as a whole.


Lydia Pack won the second place in the Biological Sciences category.

The research paper has been published in Aisthesis:

Pack, L.. (2019). A not-so beautiful mind: A review of the genetics of schizophrenia. Aisthesis, 10(2), 39-45. Retrieved from

Lydia Pack retains the copyright and has granted the permission for posting the article here.