Congratulations to Our 2017 Outstanding Achievement Prizewinners & Pardes Humanitarian Prizewinners in Mental Health

Posted: November 1, 2017
2017 International Awards Dinner Prizewinners

On Friday, October 27, 2017, we hosted our annual International Mental Health Research Symposium followed by the International Awards Dinner, where we celebrated 30 years of awarding research grants. Nine scientists were awarded a 2017 Outstanding Achievement Prize for their work in schizophrenia, mood disorders, child and adolescent psychiatry, and cognitive neuroscience. An intimate welcome dinner for the prizewinners and Brain & Behavior Research Foundation board members was held Thursday evening prior. Numerous scientists reflected on the impact BBRF has had on their careers, and the importance of winning an Outstanding Achievement Prize. Play audio clip.

From 9:00am – 4:30pm on Friday, we held our 29th Annual International Mental Health Research Symposium at the Kaufman Music Center in New York City. More than 300 guests were treated to first-hand accounts of the latest, most cutting edge research being conducted around the world by the Prizewinners and two Foundation Young Investigator Grantees. Dr. Herbert Pardes, the President of the Foundation’s Scientific Council presented an inspiring and optimistic Keynote Presentation titled Are There Breakthrough Opportunities in Mental Health? Dr. Pardes shared his perspective on the state of mental illness research and what the future looks like for not only scientists but for patients and their families.

That same evening we celebrated the Outstanding Achievement Prizewinners. Prior to the awards presentations, we presented the Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health to Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières, an international medical humanitarian organization, for its visionary and pioneering work providing urgent and often neglected mental health care to people facing crises across the globe.

“In so many corners of the world, people are facing horrific violence, displacement, abuse, disease, and stigma. All too often, while addressing their urgent physical needs, we forget their equally urgent need for mental health care,” noted Dr. Pardes. “Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières is a powerful force providing mental health services for people in desperate circumstances who have no other source of assistance or therapeutic intervention. Through their tremendous work at the frontlines, in often dangerous and volatile areas of the world, the physicians, nurses, and staff of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières have time and again given us an unwavering example of what it truly means to be a humanitarian.”

A very special Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health Honorary Tribute was awarded posthumously to Constance E. Lieber for her tireless work as a deeply caring and visionary philanthropist, who dedicated her life to alleviating the suffering caused by mental illness.

“Connie Lieber was a global champion for mental health and an extraordinary humanitarian. Not only did she work to support scientists in the field, but guided by her own personal experience and compassion, she informally advised thousands of parents who were desperately seeking help for their children," said Dr. Pardes.

Dr. Jeffrey Borenstein noted, “Connie Lieber has left us an outstanding legacy of generosity, brilliance, and compassion. She was our leader and guiding light, providing inspiration and motivation to all who ever had the honor and privilege of knowing and working with her.” Learn more about the impact Connie had in this video:

Later in the evening, the Outstanding Achievement Prizes were presented. See photos from our International Awards Dinner.

The Lieber Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Schizophrenia Research was awarded to John M. Davis, M.D. of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The Maltz Prize for Innovative & Promising Schizophrenia Research was awarded to Deanna L. Kelly, Pharm.D., BCPP at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. 

The Colvin Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Mood Disorders Research was awarded to three outstanding research scientists. The first award was given to Hilary P. Blumberg, M.D. at the Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. Blumberg received the Klerman Prize for Exceptional Clinical Research from BBRF in 2006. Additionally, she received a 2006 Independent Investigator Grant and a 2002 Young Investigator Grant from the Foundation.

The second prize was given to Mary L. Phillips M.D., M.D. (Cantab) at the University of Pittsburgh and the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic. She is also a Foundation Scientific Council Member and 2005 Independent Investigator.

Unfortunately, our third Colvin Prizewinners for Outstanding Achievement in Mood Disorders Research, Tadafumi Kato, M.D., Ph.D., the Deputy Director of RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan, was unable to join us.

The Ruane Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Research was awarded to three researchers who conducted the Bucharest Early Intervention Project, a longitudinal study that is the only randomized clinical trial of foster care intervention for infants and young children who began life in institutions under conditions of significant psychosocial adversity.

Nathan A. Fox, Ph.D. of the University of Maryland, College Park, a 2007 Foundation Distinguished Investigator Grantee, Charles A. Nelson III, Ph.D. of Harvard Medical School, and Charles H. Zeanah, Jr., M.D. of Tulane University School of Medicine were all presented the award together.

The Goldman-Rakic Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Cognitive Neuroscience was awarded to Trevor W. Robbins, Ph.D., of the University of Cambridge.

Read more about our 2017 Outstanding Achievement Prizewinners in our Press Release.