Brain & Behavior Research Foundation Honors Ten Scientists for Outstanding Achievements in Psychiatric Research at 31st Annual Dinner

Posted: October 30, 2018

Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health Awarded to

Judge Stephen Leifman

Honorary Pardes Prize Presented to

Founders of Autism Speaks Bob and Suzanne Wright

New York (October 30, 2018)The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, the world’s largest private funder of mental health research grants, honored ten scientists with its 2018 Outstanding Achievement Prizes and awarded the Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health at its International Awards Dinner on Friday, October 26, at the Pierre in New York City. The evening celebrated the power of neuroscience, psychiatric research and humanitarian efforts to change the lives of people who are living with mental illness.

The ten scientists who are affiliated with universities in the United States, France and Canada were recognized for their extraordinary achievements in research on schizophrenia, mood disorders, child and adolescent psychiatry, and cognitive neuroscience.

In presenting the Outstanding Achievement Awards, Dr. Jeffrey Borenstein, President & CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, said, “These ten exceptional scientists are dedicated to advancing the science that is changing what it means to live with a mental illness and open possibilities for more people to live full, productive, and joyful lives. He, added, “Their individual projects reflect the unprecedented depth and breadth of brain and behavior research. These are the Academy Awards of brain research.”

The 2018 Outstanding Achievement Prizewinners are:

The Lieber Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Schizophrenia Research

The Lieber Prize was established in 1987 by Stephen Lieber and the late Connie Lieber to bring public recognition to outstanding discoveries in schizophrenia research.

Anissa Abi-Dargham, M.D.

Stony Brook University


Schahram Akbarian, M.D., Ph.D.

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai


The Maltz Prize for Innovation & Promising Schizophrenia Research

Established in 2004, the prize was formerly known as the Baer Prize and was renamed in 2016 in honor of Board Members Milton and Tamar Maltz.

Kristen Brennand, Ph.D.

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai


Guillermo Horga, M.D., Ph.D.

New York State Psychiatric Institute, Columbia University


The Colvin Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Mood Disorders Research

Established in 1993 the prize was renamed in 2012 to honor a Foundation support, the late Oliver D. Colvin, Jr., who bequeathed the largest single contribution in the Foundation’s history.

Benjamin I Goldstein, M.D., Ph.D., FRCPC

University of Toronto & Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre


Lakshmi N. Yatham, M.B.B.S., F.R.C.P.C., M.C.Psych (UK), MBA(Exec)

University of British Columbia


The Ruane Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Research

The Ruane prize was initiated in 2000 by philanthropists Jay and William Ruane, and recognizes significant advances in research toward the understanding and treatment of early-onset brain and behavior disorders.

Ami Klin, Ph.D.

Marcus Autism Center

Emory University School of Medicine and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta


Joseph Piven, M.D.

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill


Goldman-Rakic Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Cognitive Neuroscience Research

The Goldman-Rakic Prize was created by Constance and Stephen Lieber in memory of Dr. Patricia Goldman-Rakic, a neuroscientist renowned for discoveries about the brain’s frontal lobe, who died in an automobile accident in 2003.

Jean Pierre Changeux, Ph.D.

Collége de France & Institut Pasteur, France


Xiao-Jing Wang, Ph.D.

Center for Neural Science, NYU


Pardes Prize Awarded

The Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health was awarded to Judge Steven Leifman, associate administrative judge in Miami-Dade County, for his leadership in reducing the number of people with mental illnesses in jail and prison.  The Honorary Pardes Humanitarian Prize was presented to Bob and the late Suzanne Wright, the founders of Autism Speaks, for their unparalleled leadership in advancing autism research and increasing understanding and acceptance of people with autism spectrum disorder.

The awards were presented to Judge Leifman and Bob Wright by, Dr. Herb Pardes, President of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation’s Scientific Council and Executive Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Pardes said, “Psychiatry and mental health are important in virtually all aspects of human interaction. While our Foundation’s other awards focus on research for brain and behavior disorders, the Pardes Humanitarian Prize was developed from our Board Chairman Steve Lieber’s original idea to take special note of people and organizations whose humanitarian work is transformative and of great magnitude. This international Prize, selected by an extraordinary committee of psychiatric leaders, celebrates those who have made a profound and lasting impact on mental health.”

About the Outstanding Achievement Prizes

The recipients of the Outstanding Achievement Prizes are selected by the Foundation’s Scientific Council, comprised of 181 leading experts across disciplines in brain and behavior research including two Nobel Prizewinners; two former directors and the current director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH); four recipients of the National Medal of Science; 13 members of the National Academy of Sciences; 28 chairs of psychiatry and neuroscience departments at leading medical institutions, and 53 members of the Institute of Medicine.

About the The Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health

The Pardes Prize was established in 2014, and is awarded annually to recognize individuals or organizations that are making a profound and lasting impact in advancing the understanding of mental health and improving the lives of people with mental illness. It focuses public attention on the burden mental illness places on individuals and society, and the urgent need to expand mental health services globally. Nominations are solicited worldwide. The recipient is chosen by an international distinguished committee of eleven members. The Prize is named in honor of Herbert Pardes, M.D., a noted psychiatrist, outspoken advocate for the mentally ill, and the award’s first recipient. The Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health is sponsored in part by Janssen Research & Development, LLC, one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson.

The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation awards research grants to develop improved treatments, cures, and methods of prevention for mental illness. These illnesses include addiction, ADHD, anxiety, autism, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, depression, eating disorders, OCD, PTSD, and schizophrenia. Since 1987, the Foundation has awarded more than $394 million to fund more than 4,700 leading scientists around the world, which has led to over $3.9 billion in additional funding. 100% of every dollar donated for research is invested in our research grants. The Foundation’s operating expenses are covered by separate foundation grants.

The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

Source:    The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

Contact:   Myrna Manners, Manners Dotson Group,