Brain & Behavior Research Foundation Scientific Council Recognizes Six Exceptional Young Researchers for Promising Contributions to Mental Health Research

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Date: July 17, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 

Brain & Behavior Research Foundation Scientific Council Recognizes Six Exceptional Young Researchers for Promising Contributions to Mental Health Research

(GREAT NECK, N.Y. – JULY 17, 2012) Six young scientists will be recognized with the Annual Klerman and Freedman Prizes by the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation on Friday July 27, 2012 at Le Parker Meriden Hotel in New York City.

The 2012 Klerman Prizewinner, Jess G. Fiedorowicz, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor at the University of Iowa and 2008 NARSAD Young Investigator Grantee, addresses the major public health issue of vascular disease in mood disorders by seeking to understand the most relevant mechanisms underlying the high rate of associated morbidity so that novel means to mitigate the risk may be developed. The Klerman Prize was established in 1994 in memory of Gerald Klerman, M.D., to honor outstanding achievements in clinical mental health research by a young investigator.

The 2012 Freedman Prizewinner, Zhiping Pang, M.D., Ph.D. assistant professor at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey and 2008 NARSAD Young Investigator Grantee, has developed a novel way to study synaptic dysfunction in brain and behavior disorders, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Building upon advances in stem cell biology, the research team successfully converted mouse and human cells into functional neurons (iN cells), providing a completely new window for studying neural development, modeling neurological disease and furthering regenerative medicine. The Freedman Prize was established in 1998 in memory of Daniel X. Freedman, M.D., to recognize outstanding basic mental health research by a young investigator.

The prizewinners are selected by committees within the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation Scientific Council, a volunteer group of 132 of the world’s leading mental health researchers. Herbert Pardes, M.D., presides over the Council and selection committees and said, “NARSAD Young Investigator Grantees offer the promise of outstanding mental health research. These young scientists being honored demonstrate exceptional talent and are moving us forward in the quest for better understanding of and improved treatments for brain and behavior disorders.”

The following two 2008 NARSAD Young Investigator Grantees will receive 2012 Klerman Prize Honorable Mentions:

Johanne Renaud, M.D. M.Sc., associate professor at McGill University, is a dedicated child and adolescent psychiatrist developing evidence-based suicide prevention standards for youth.

Manpreet Kaur Singh, M.D., M.S., assistant professor at Stanford University is using new technologies, including neuroimaging, genetic analyses and neurobehavioral assessment to identify the underlying mechanisms that lead to the development of mood disorders in youth.

The following two 2008 NARSAD Young Investigator Grantees will receive 2012 Freedman Prize Honorable Mentions:

Marie Carlén, Ph.D., assistant professor at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, is implementing optogenetics to establish the physiological and cellular basis of cognitive deficits in brain and behavior disorders such as schizophrenia.

Genevieve Konopka, Ph.D., assistant professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, is developing cutting edge techniques to identify candidate genes for novel therapies in autism and schizophrenia.

“We are proud to support a new generation of researchers pioneering the way toward important advances, unlocking the mysteries of mental illness, and helping to relieve the suffering of those afflicted,” said Benita Shobe, Brain & Behavior Research Foundation President and CEO.

About the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation
The nation’s largest private funder of mental health research, the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation has awarded close to $300 million in NARSAD Grants to more than 3,100 scientists worldwide since 1987. Dedicated to identifying the causes, improving treatments and developing prevention strategies for mental illnesses that affect an overwhelming one-in-four people in the United States, the Foundation was formerly known as NARSAD (an acronym for National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression).

Visit our website for more information: www.bbrfoundation.org


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