Our crowdfunding campaign has ended but you can still support the Friends of the Semel Institute by clicking here

Friends of The Semel Institute Research Scholar Program

Raised toward our $25,000 Goal
57 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on January 01, at 12:00 AM PST
Project Owners

Friends of The Semel Institute Research Scholar Program



Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has -Margaret Mead


JOIN OUR CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN and together let’s raise $25,000 for a 2020 Friends of the Semel Institute Research Scholar Grant!



UCLA’s Friends of the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior is a group of volunteer mental health advocates dedicated to improving the lives of people with mental illness by supporting research to advance innovative treatments and sponsoring educational programs to raise awareness and erase stigma. 

Nanthia Suthana, Ph.D., 2015 Semel Scholar Grant recipient

what is the friends of the semel institute research scholar program?

Friends scholar grants support early career scientists doing state of the art translational research in neuroscience, psychiatry and psychology. Their discoveries will lead to innovative treatments to improve the lives of millions of people affected by mental illness and will continue to unlock the secrets of the mind and brain. The Friends Scholar Program, started in 2006, is committed to helping develop the next generation of researchers of the mind and brain health and disease. Seed grants of $25,000 per year for up to two years are awarded to outstanding early career investigators: neuroscientists, psychiatrists, and psychologists doing translational research to develop new and effective treatments that improve and save lives of people with mental illness.


1 in 5 adults in the us experience mental illness in a given year

Why your support matters

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that one in five people in this country alone will experience a diagnosable mental illness in any given year. This translates to over 46.6 million Americans. The stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness is the single biggest factor that deters people from seeking treatment; this often leads to needless suffering, isolation and sometimes heartbreaking tragic outcomes. 


Join the Friends in supporting mental health and wellness!


how you can help

Invest in groundbreaking research that improves and saves lives by joining this Friends of Semel crowdfunding campaign. Make your tax deductible donation of any size now and support a 2020 Friends Research Scholar. 

Friends Scholars: Yvonne Yang, M.D., Ph.D., Nanthia Suthana, Ph.D., Michelle Rozenman, Ph.D., April Thames, Ph.D


To date, the Friends has supported 24 scholars doing research in fields such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, autism, addiction, perinatal mood disorders, aging and memory, OCD, ADHD, schizophrenia, concussion and traumatic brain injury. The Friends Scholars have also addressed homelessness and access to mental health care, eating disorders, complicated grief, mindful awareness and meditation training for Alzheimer’s caregivers.  All have continued in successful careers in research and received awards from the National Institute of Mental Health to continue their work. 



The open mind community film and lecture series

The Friends host and sponsor the OPEN MIND Community Lecture and Film Series to further the education mission, raise awareness and erase the stigma of mental illness and promote mental health and wellness. The Open Mind Series brings together mental health professionals, scientists, researchers, authors, and filmmakers to present educational programs about the mysteries of the mind and brain and mental health issues. The series is presented as a free public service to the community. The Open Mind programs encourage civic engagement about mental, developmental, and neurological illnesses and disorders that affect our society.


To learn more about the programs the Friends offer, please visit www.friendsofthesemelinstitute.org

Emilio Estevez and Dr. Roya Ijati Maghsoodi discuss The Public at The Open Mind film and lecture series.

Past Open Mind speakers include National Book Award winner, Andrew Soloman, Temple Grandin, Dr. Jared Diamond, David Sheff, Metta World Peace, Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Kay Jamison, Judy Collins, Professor Elyn Saks, Paul Dalio, Kay Redfield Jameson, Pete Earley, Pulitzer Prize winning authors, Ron Suskind and Ron Brown, Emilio Estevez, Sarah McBride, Rabbi Steve Leder, Academy Award- winning Directors Lee Unrich and Pete Doktor, Dr. Gail Saltz, Dr. Gary Small, Dr. Daniel Siegel, Dr. Daniel Levitin, Coach Valorie Kondos Fields and more.

The Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA

The Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA is a world-renowned research and education institute excelling in human neuroscience research, education, clinical care, and wellness. The Institute comprises exceptional faculty and researchers who work collaboratively to advance the understanding of complex human behavior, including the genetic, biological, behavioral, and sociocultural underpinnings of normal behavior and the causes and consequences of neuropsychiatric disorders. In addition to conducting fundamental research, faculty members seek to develop new and effective strategies for the prevention and treatment of neurological, psychiatric, and behavioral disorders, including the provision of greater access to mental health services and the shaping of national health policy.

UCLA Psychiatry and Neuroscience

UCLA is ranked as the #1 public university in the country by U.S. News & World Report for the third consecutive year. In 2019 UCLA Health is ranked #1 in Los Angeles, #1 in California and #6 nationwide by U.S. News & World Report.UCLA Psychiatry was ranked #8 in 2017-2018 by U.S.News & World Report.

The Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital is one of the few remaining inpatient facilities in Southern California, and the only one of international standing.The Semel Institute and Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital have more than 300 major academic researchers and clinicians, with an extended faculty of another 600 physicians and scientists, who work collaboratively to unlock the mysteries of the mind and brain and translate these discoveries into innovative treatments and new medications.


The Friends of the Semel Institute is a 501(c)(3) under the auspices of the UCLA Foundation. 

Visit us at: 

Website: www.friendsofthesemelinstitute.org

Instagram: @uclafriendsofsemel

Facebook: UCLAFriendsofSemel

Choose a giving level


Count me in!

Count me in!


Stop the Stigma

Stop the Stigma



Any donation of $100 or more includes reserved seating for our 2019/2020 Open Mind Programs.


Mental Health Advocate

Mental Health Advocate


Semel Supporter

Semel Supporter




Our Crowdfunding Groups