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David H. Perlmutter, MD, the George and Carol Bauer Dean of the School of Medicine; Andrew C. Taylor; Barbara B. Taylor; Covey; and Chancellor Emeritus Mark S. Wrighton

Douglas F. Covey, Ph.D., of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has been installed as the inaugural Andrew C. and Barbara B. Taylor Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry. Covey is a pioneering researcher in the development of a new class of drugs - neurosteroids - to treat mental illness.

Covey specializes in the chemistry and biology of steroids, and he studies how neurosteroids function as anesthetics and analgesics, as well as their potential to treat neurodegeneration and psychiatric illnesses, particularly depression.

The professorship was established by a gift from philanthropists Andrew and Barbara Taylor and the Crawford Taylor Foundation to support the Taylor Family Institute for Innovative Psychiatric Research. The institute was established in 2012 at the Washington University School of Medicine via a $20 million gift from the family. Covey was installed by then-Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton and David H. Perlmutter, MD.

“Dr. Covey’s work isolating and synthesizing neurosteroids has great potential to help patients with psychiatric illness,” Perlmutter says. “We’re grateful for the Taylors’ generous investments in this professorship and in the Taylor Family Institute to support the work of researchers such as Doug Covey. The Taylors’ dedication enables scientists like Dr. Covey to focus attention on finding better treatments for the thousands of patients suffering from mental illness who do not benefit from current therapies.”

The institute supports research collaborations among several departments, including psychiatry, anesthesiology, developmental biology, radiology, neurology and medicine.