Congratulations to Marc G. Caron, Ph.D., of Duke University Medical Center on receiving the 2013 Lieber Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Schizophrenia Research!
“Receiving the Lieber Prize is a tremendous honor, not only for me but also for the many colleagues who contributed to the work we have accomplished over the years. This award celebrates the leadership of Constance and Stephen Lieber, who have inspired a whole family of generous donors to support the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation or NARSAD, as we affectionately refer to it in neuroscience circles, to support mental disorder research for more than 25 years.”
Marc G. Caron, Ph.D., is the James B. Duke Professor of Cell Biology and Professor of Medicine and of Neurobiology at Duke University Medical Center. He was drawn to the study of schizophrenia through a long-standing interest in the mechanisms controlling neurotransmission―the transmission of nerve impulses from a nerve cell to a target cell in the brain. Of particular interest to him, with regard to schizophrenia, is the system controlling the neurotransmitter dopamine, which he has studied in animal models developed in his lab.
Among the many achievements that have marked his career, Dr. Caron and his colleagues generated the first dopamine transporter “knockout” mouse. (A knockout animal is one in which a specific gene is inactivated so as to determine its function.) With this model, the lab established the essential nature of the transporter in the maintenance of dopamine “homeostasis” (or internal equilibrium for normal functioning). In a groundbreaking study, the Caron team identified a novel mode of signaling for the brain’s dopamine D2 receptors, which are principal targets of antipsychotic medications. The lab is now exploring whether the functional selectivity of the D2 receptor can be leveraged to develop more selectively targeted and effective antipsychotics.
A graduate of Laval University in his native Quebec City, Dr. Caron earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry at the University of Miami in 1973. After a postdoctoral fellowship at Duke, he returned to Laval as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physiology and then to the Duke University Medical Center faculty, where he was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Senior Associate and Investigator. A member of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation Scientific Council since 2000, he received a NARSAD Distinguished Investigator Grant in 2005.
Among his many other honors, Dr. Caron received a Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, a MERIT Award from the National Institute of Mental Health, the DuPont Prize for Receptor Research, the Julius Axelrod Medal for Catecholamine Research, the Perkin-Elmer Achievement Award from the Society of Biomolecular Screening and an honorary doctorate from the University of Montreal.
“Dr. Caron is a remarkable scientist. He has published over 700 papers, including landmark studies relevant to schizophrenia, and is one of the most highly cited researchers in neuroscience and neuropsychopharmacology,” says William E. Bunney, Jr., M.D., Chair of the Foundation Scientific Council Lieber Prize Selection Committee.
Read a summary of Dr. Caron's presentation from the 2013 Mental Health Research Symposium held in New York City on October 25, 2013.