Grant contributes to “cutting edge” mental health research

Photo by Maredithe Meyer/ [email protected]

Maredithe Meyer

The College of Health Sciences announced in January that it received a $5 million gift to create the Charles E. Kubly Research Center, which has since enabled the college to better understand mental health and search for related biological cures.

College of Health Sciences dean William Cullinan said the college’s research has become more “cutting edge” since accepting the gift.

“We need cures that work for everybody or for more people, cures that work faster,” Cullinan said. “We just don’t understand the brain well enough to do this yet.”

Michael and Billie Kubly donated the gift in their son’s honor to support and strengthen the university’s neurological research. The son Charles Kubly took his own life after suffering from depression.

The center is considered a molecular and cellular core facility – a laboratory exposing its 12 faculty members to the newest neurological research technology.

The gift enables the college to strategically hire more experienced faculty members. Each of the neurologists specializes in one of the main aspects of mental health: motivation, emotion and cognition. Cullinan said these areas are the three entryways to understanding and curing mental illness.

He also said the faculty’s collaboration and specific insight separates Marquette’s research center from those of other universities.

“There are a lot of people doing neuroscience research in this domain, but few have assembled a group that has covered the three primary bases that are likely to unravel the clues to what is going on (in the brain),” Cullinan said.

Undergraduate and graduate health science students have the opportunity to work as laboratory research assistants. The College of Health Sciences will raise an additional $5 million for the center and its research facilities over the next few years.

Hannah Podvin, a senior in the College of Health Sciences, volunteered as a researcher in the physical therapy department from her freshman through junior years. She worked on her doctoral research project under Stacy Stolzman, an adjunct instructor in the department.

Podvin said in an email that she thinks the Kublys’ gift will “allow Marquette students to be the difference in not only discovering more, but in helping to fight the stigma that plagues mental illness.”

The donors founded the Charles E. Kubly Foundation in 2003 to raise awareness about depression, remove its stigma and improve mental health resources. Marquette’s Active Minds chapter is no stranger to the foundation’s work.

Active Minds President Markie Pasternak said the Kubly Foundation is supporting the chapter in an upcoming mental health awareness event. The College of Health Sciences will also attend the Active Minds National Conference in November.

“My mission here at Marquette has been to change the campus climate in regards to mental health,” Pasternak said.

She said she has seen drastic change within the College of Health Sciences during her time leading Active Minds, but that the gift is a huge help.