A consensus roadmap for a new diagnostic framework for mental disorders

Exploring how the new pathways neurobiology is opening to precision diagnostics have the potential to transform neuropsychiatric treatment science.

ECNP Neuroscience appliedCurrent nosology for the diagnosis of neuropsychiatric disorders separates each often into non-overlapping diagnostic categories. This nosological separation is not based on underlying aetiology but on convention-based clustering of qualitative symptoms of disorders. Yet, overlap in disease symptoms and dimensions across different neuropsychiatric disorders is huge. While diagnostic categories are sufficient to provide the basis for general clinical management, they do not describe the underlying neurobiology that gives rise to individual symptoms. The ability to precisely link these symptoms to underlying neurobiology would not only facilitate the development of better treatments, it would also allow physicians to provide patients with a better understanding of the complexities and management of their illness.

To realise this ambition, a paradigm shift is needed to build an understanding of how neuropsychiatric conditions can be defined more precisely using quantitative (multimodal) biological processes and parameters and thus to optimise treatment efficacy.

The New Frontiers Meeting 2024 aims to reach a consensus roadmap for building a new diagnostic framework for mental disorders by discussing its rationale, outlook, and consequences with stakeholders. This framework would instantiate a set of principles and procedures by which research could continuously improve precision diagnostics. By the end of the meeting we aim to draw out the process for realising such a framework. This will concern raising global alignment on the initiative with all stakeholders, reaching agreement on the way forward to better define and (longitudinally) measure neuropsychiatric conditions, harmonising (translational) methodologies and data sets across the community, and mobilising resources to implement and validate the framework.

Register for virtual participation on or before 13 March 2024.

How to register


Meet the speakers

 Bruce Cuthbert  Amit Etkin
Bruce Cuthbert, USA
Senior member of the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) Unit at NIMH, leading a translational research framework for psychopathology; NIMH Acting Director from 2015-2016.
 Amit Etkin, USA
Founder and chief executive officer of Alto Neuroscience and adjunct professor of Psychiatry and Psychology, Stanford university.
 Matthew Hotopf  Quentin Huys

Matthew Hotopf, United Kingdom
Executive Dean of the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience and professor of General Hospital Psychiatry at King’s College London.

Quentin Huys, United Kingdom
Deputy Director of the Max Planck UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research and professor of Computational Psychiatry at University College London.
 Steven Hyman  Martien Kas
Steven Hyman, USA
Director of the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute, MIT and Harvard, distinguished service professor of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, Harvard University, former director (1996-2001) of the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).
Martien Kas, The Netherlands
Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience at the Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences, University of Groningen and president of ECNP.
 Paris Lalousis United Kingdom  Cathryn Lewis
Paris Lalousis, United Kingdom
Lecturer in Artificial Intelligence in Mental Health, Department of Psychosis Studies at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London.
Cathryn Lewis, United Kingdom
Professor of Genetic Epidemiology & Statistics and head of department, Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Centre, at King’s College London.
 Hugh Marson  Gemma Modinos
Hugh Marston, Germany
Senior vice president and head of Global CNS Diseases at Boehringer Ingelheim.
Gemma Modinos, United Kingdom
Reader in Neuroscience & Mental Health at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King’s College London.
Livia De Picker portrait
 Hanneke Wardenaar-Wigman
Livia De Picker, Belgium
Assistant professor of Clinical Immunopsychiatry at the University Psychiatric Hospital Duffel.
Hanneke Wardenaar-Wigman, The Netherlands
Assistant professor of Psychiatry at the Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Groningen.
 Leanne Williams  
Leanne Williams, USA
Vincent V.C. Woo professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and associate chair of Translational Neuroscience at Stanford University School of Medicine, director of the Stanford Center for Precision Mental Health and Wellness and of the Stanford PanLab for Personalized and Translational Neuroscience.

New Frontiers Concept

Neuroscience is facing a crisis in the translation of fundamental advances into new treatments. The crisis has seen a significant slowing-down in the development of new and better therapies, and widespread disinvestment from the field, especially in Europe. The ECNP New Frontiers Meeting was launched to help tackle this critical challenge. As Europe’s leading independent scientific association for the science and treatment of disorders of the brain, ECNP is in a unique position to provide a neutral, precompetitive platform for the exchange of insights and ideas across the spectrum of CNS research and development.

Previous meetings

Check the previous ECNP New Frontiers Meetings here: