2008 Lieber Prizewinner Wins 2013 Grawemeyer Award for Schizophrenia Research

2008 Lieber Prizewinner Wins 2013 Grawemeyer Award for Schizophrenia Research

Posted: November 29, 2012

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Irving Gottesman, Ph.D., the 2008 recipient of the Foundation's Lieber Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Schizophrenia Research, has been named the recipient of the 2013 Grawemeyer Award for Psychology at the University of Louisville.

Dr. Gottesman developed a model for understanding schizophrenia that has helped revolutionize thinking about brain and behavior disorders. Dr. Gottesman's "idea" in the 1950s was that schizophrenia was not the result of trauma caused by bad parenting, but rather by genetic and environmental factors, which is today the predominant view of mental illness. He was one of the first researchers to conduct genetic studies of twins which proved his theory correct. He found that when one twin has schizophrenia, roughly 50% of identical twins will also develop the disorder, whereas only 10% of fraternal twins will. Multiple genes were found to be responsible, along with environmental factors such as personal experiences. This gave rise to Gottesman’s concept of “endophenotypes,” which identifies genetic markers and behavioral traits that can act as liabilities or assets in the possible development of schizophrenia.

“His concept of endophenotypes has made a critical scientific contribution and been enthusiastically incorporated into a large number of research studies,” stated Brain & Behavior Research Foundation Scientific Council Member, Dr. William E. Bunney, Jr., in 2008. Dr. Bunney chairs the Lieber Prize Selection Committee for the Foundation.

The Grawemeyer Award in Psychology is accompanied by a cash prize of $100,000 and is designed to "acknowledge and disseminate outstanding ideas in all areas of psychological science." The award recognizes a specific idea, rather than a lifetime of accomplishment.

Read the article from the Louisville Courier-Journal