Watch Dr. Andrew Nierenberg’s video: 2013 Colvin Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Mood Disorders Research

Andrew A. Nierenberg, M.D., expert on bipolar disorder and mood disorders
Andrew A. Nierenberg, M.D.

Congratulations to Andrew A. Nierenberg, M.D., of Harvard University on receiving the 2013 Colvin Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Mood Disorders Research!

“The Colvin Prize is an extraordinarily meaningful acknowledgement and recognition of the work my colleagues and I have done to advance the treatment and understanding of bipolar disorder. The prize affirms our focus on clinical trials of pharmacologic and psychosocial interventions to improve the lives of people with bipolar disorder, and will inspire me to continue to search for better treatments.”

Andrew A. Nierenberg, M.D.
, one of neuroscience’s most cited mood disorders’ experts, is Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Bipolar Clinic and Research Program and Associate Director of the Depression Clinical and Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he also co-directs the Education Unit of the Clinical Research Program. Recently, he was appointed Vice President for Research of the International Society for Bipolar Disorders. He has been a member of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation Scientific Council since 2010.

A major focus of Dr. Nierenberg’s research has been difficult-to-treat mood disorders. He helped to establish treatment-resistant depression as a legitimate field for inquiry. More recently, with the support of two NARSAD Independent Investigator Grants, he initiated studies of children at risk for bipolar disorder and of the co-occurrence of bipolar disorder with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. He was a leading participant in large-scale National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) clinical trials, including the Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder and the Sequential Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression, both of which involved thousands of patients.

Since 2005, Dr. Nierenberg has directed the NIMH Bipolar Trials Network and is principal investigator for the multi-site Lithium Moderate Dose Study on the comparative effectiveness of lithium with other medications. He is also principal investigator for a comparative study (Bipolar CHOICE) of lithium and a second-generation antipsychotic mood stabilizer, funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

A graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo, Dr. Nierenberg received his medical degree in 1980 from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in New York. He completed his internship and residency in psychiatry at New York University / Bellevue Hospital and studied clinical epidemiology at Yale University as a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar.

Robert M. Post, Chair of the Scientific Council Colvin Prize Selection Committe had this to say about Dr. Nierenberg and his work:

"Dr. Nierenberg has focused on new approaches to patients with difficult to treat illness and conducted large-scale practical clinical trials. One is the comparative assessment of lithium and quetiapine, two of the major treatments of the illness. In another recent study, he found that adding moderate doses of lithium to treatment as usual was no more effective than adding placebo, but did result in the need for lower doses of adjunctive atypical antipsychotics. The secondary findings of this study importantly documented the relatively low response rates in either group indicating the great need for further treatment studies of this illness."

Read a summary of Dr. Nierenberg's presentation from the 2013 Mental Health Research Symposium held in New York City on October 25, 2013.


Article comments

What about amisulpride(sanofi-synthelabo)?

What else is out there for treatment resistant patients? My memory is bad enough from lamictal (all i take) so i'm not too thrilled about trying ECT. I want my memory back. Also, why are psych dr's/pnp's so uncomfortable with treatment resistant bipolar 1, rapid cycling, w/ manic psychosis? Believe me, i know it sucks, i live with it, but why do i get turned down by pretty much every doc i call (if they call back). I feel like i'm missing something on how to find a decent doc.

side note: i'd like a real doctor who is as fascinated with bipolar as i am to take interest (even just email back and forth)... I live by OHSU and don't even get a bite on the hook. what do i have to do?

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Please note that researchers cannot give specific recommendations or advice about treatment; diagnosis and treatment are complex and highly individualized processes that require comprehensive face-to- face assessment. Please visit our "Ask an Expert" section to see a list of Q & A with NARSAD Grantees.
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