Chen Institute Establishes a New Chen Frontier Lab with Shanghai Mental Health Center; Donates 50 million yuan.

On July 26, 2021, Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute (TCCI®) donated 50 million yuan and signed a contract with Shanghai Mental Health Center (SMHC) to jointly establish a new Chen Frontier lab focused on improving evaluation and interventions for mental diseases of large populations using big data and AI-powered analysis of individual behaviors and symptoms. The ultimate goal is to develop new ways to improve mental health for the general public.


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“Tianqiao and I care very much about using new technologies to improve mental health for the public and we hope to find more effective treatments through continuous investment,” TCCI® cofounder Chrissy Luo said. To achieve this goal, TCCI® established the Chen Frontier Lab for AI and Mental Health, dedicated to conducting and supporting interdisciplinary research in this arena. TCCI® will donate 50 million yuan to SMHC to jointly establish the frontier lab as part of TCCI’s first-phase plan of supporting brain science in China with a 500 million commitment. In the future, the lab will promote research in AI technologies, precision medicine and the transforming clinical applications.


At the signing ceremony, Xu Yifeng, Director of Shanghai Mental Health Center, described the history of cooperation with TCCI® and touched on the Center’s concerted exploration of brain disease as well as joint promotion of treatment and preventions for mental disorders. Professor Xu expressed gratitude toward the Chens for their strong support as entrepreneurs and philanthropists.


As a large medical institute specialized in mental health, the Center will leverage its clinical strengths and the complementary advantages of TCCI® and SMHC. Efforts will be made to build the lab into an open platform for industry counterparts to explore cutting-edge technologies, accelerate translation of academic achievements, and benefit patients.


Professor Jiang Fan from the Medical School of Shanghai Jiaotong University pointed out that AI technologies have great potential to be widely applied in brain science, especially for research related to the elderly, children and those already affected by mental disease and disorder. She emphasized that as the largest psychiatric hospital in China, SMHC will utilize its resources, introduce and cultivate specialized talents facilitate the diagnosis and treatment of mental diseases in comprehensive hospitals and carry out innovative research through inter-disciplinary research.


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After the signing ceremony, clinical experts and scientists from diverse disciplines exchanged opinions.


TCCI® cofounder, Tianqiao Chen, expressed his vision for the application of AI technologies in the field of mental health. He pointed out that although we still have a long way to go when it comes to mental diseases, it doesn’t mean we are powerless. Since human beings can’t decode the secrets of the brain in the short term, Al provides a very good solution. That is to use new technologies to conduct objective and long-term research on mass populations, build computational models and develop systematic tools, so as to lay a solid foundation for future research on mental diseases, precision medicine, and innovative digital medications.


During the discussions, experts underlined the importance of research on ethical issues concerning AI technologies. By removing private information and technological transformation, researchers can ensure data security protections for AI research based on big data. Meanwhile, all the participants were engaged in excited discussion around the future of the Frontier Lab, especially from the aspect of AI technology research, digital medicine, and clinical translation. Such discussions are a reminder of the original purposes of ‘frontier’ research and its contributions to the treatment of relevant patients, the prevention of mental disorders and rehabilitation.


Professor Li Chunbo, Deputy Director of SMHC presided over the signing ceremony and the seminar and more than 30 scientists and clinical experts attended the event. They all look forward to the combination of human wisdom and artificial intelligence, which they believed will create scientific results which are truly beneficial to mankind.