The director of the National Institute of Mental Health will join Google to explore how its life-sciences team can contribute to understanding, diagnosing and treating mental illness, the company said.

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MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — After visiting Silicon Valley this summer for a tour of tech companies including Apple, Google and IBM, the director of the National Institute of Mental Health is coming back — this time to work.

Google’s life-sciences division, now its own subsidiary of parent company Alphabet, said Tuesday that it has hired Thomas Insel, a neuroscientist and psychiatrist who since 2002 has run the branch of the Maryland-based National Institutes of Health that works on understanding and treating mental disorders.

“Tom is coming on board to explore how the life-sciences team at Google could have an impact on the huge challenges related to understanding, diagnosing, and treating mental illness,” the company said in a statement.

Insel wrote a blog post in late August describing his visits to Silicon Valley tech giants and startups that are working on health ventures, noting that “technology is not the answer to all problems, but it may help those with mental illness even more than those with other chronic, serious medical conditions.”