Scientists Honored For Outstanding Achievements in Mental Illness Research

Posted: September 22, 2011

Contact: Dianne Ackerman
Phone: (516) 829-0091

Scientists Honored For Outstanding Achievements in Mental Illness Research

(GREAT NECK, N.Y. – September 22, 2011) The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation will honor 8 extraordinary scientists with Outstanding Research Achievement Prizes for their accomplishments in brain and behavior research in New York City on October 26.

Since 1987, the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation has awarded nearly $300 million in over 4,000 NARSAD Grants to scientists worldwide. The Foundation is dedicated to finding the causes, improving treatments and preventing the mental illnesses that affect an overwhelming one-in-four people in the United States.

“The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation is thrilled to honor these brilliant scientists,” said Benita Shobe, Foundation President and CEO. “With their cutting-edge scientific research and unparalleled commitment to the cause of mental illness, these leaders are pioneering the way to recovery for the countless millions of people worldwide debilitated by mental illness.”

Prizewinners will be honored on October 26 at the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation National Awards Dinner and speak at the public 23rd Annual Mental Health Research Symposium in New York City.

The prize winners are:

Lieber Prize for Schizophrenia Research
Carol A. Tamminga, M.D.

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas

Dr. Tamminga seeks to understand how schizophrenia and related disorders arise and to hasten the translation of laboratory discoveries into innovations in clinical care. A major focus of her laboratory is the investigation of the cognitive deficits seen in schizophrenia and implicated in the occupational and social deficits associated with the disorder, and for which treatment is still largely nonexistent. Dr. Tamminga is chair and professor of the department of psychiatry, vice chair for research and chief of translational neuroscience research in schizophrenia at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. The author of over 300 scientific papers, she is currently deputy editor of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Joel E. Kleinman, M.D., Ph.D.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

Over the last 35 years, Dr. Kleinman has pioneered investigations into the molecular biology of brain development and disorders, particularly schizophrenia, amassing one of the most important collections of postmortem human brains for such studies.  A neurologist, psychiatrist and pharmacologist, he has contributed to fundamental discoveries concerning the neuropathology of schizophrenia and its genetic basis and how genetic variation impacts brain structure and function. Dr. Kleinman has served for a quarter-century as chief of the Section on Neuropathology and deputy chief of the Clinical Brain Disorders Branch in the Genes, Cognition and Psychosis Program in the NIMH Intramural Research Program.

Ruane Prize for Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Research
Daniel S. Pine, M.D.

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

Dr. Pine has done groundbreaking work in understanding biological and pharmacological aspects of psychiatric disorders in children and adolescents that is helping to implement new treatments, both pharmacological and behavioral. He is currently examining the degree to which mood and anxiety disorders in children and adolescents are associated with underlying abnormalities in the amygdala, a brain area involved in emotion and memory, and the prefrontal cortex, critical to higher cognitive functions, and other brain regions that modulate activity in those two structures. Dr. Pine is the chief of the Section on Development and Affective Neuroscience in the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program of the National Institute of Mental Health Intramural Research Program.

Goldman-Rakic Prize for Cognitive Neuroscience Research
Michael E. Goldberg, M.D.

Columbia University/NYSPI

Dr. Goldberg has been at the forefront of neuroscience research, with specific important contributions to understanding the neural processes underlying primate behavior. His studies have centered on the physiological basis of two important cognitive problems: How the brain organizes visual attention and the eye movements that are the overt manifestation of attention; and how the brain creates a unitary concept of the visual world for perception and action despite a constantly moving eye. He established for the first time that visual responses, at the level of the single neuron, could be modulated by non-visual factors such as attention, opening a whole field of physiological exploration of cognitive processes. Dr. Goldberg is the David Mahoney Professor of Brain and Behavior in the departments of neuroscience, neurology, psychiatry and ophthalmology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and the New York State Psychiatric Institute.

Sidney R. Baer Jr. Prize for Schizophrenia Research
Elena I. Ivleva, M.D., Ph.D.

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas

Dr. Ivleva, a 2010 NARSAD Young Investigator Grantee, is currently completing the final year of a research residency in psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. Dr. Ivleva’s research efforts are primarily directed toward identifying and studying the cognitive, electrophysiological and brain-imaging markers of psychosis in neuropsychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia and mood disorders, and finding new clinical measures to relieve psychotic symptoms. She has developed sophisticated measures to precisely track her work to identify overlapping and distinguishing characteristics of patients with schizophrenia and psychotic bipolar disorder, also associating these clinical intermediate phenotypes with genes. Her brain imaging data should influence diagnostic development and deepen the genetic understanding of psychosis.

Amanda J. Law, Ph.D.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

Dr. Law’s research focuses on understanding the molecular and cellular mechanisms of genetic susceptibility to schizophrenia, and has proven to be highly translational and innovative, bridging the gap between basic neuroscience, clinical genetics and clinical pharmacology. Through studies of adult and fetal human postmortem brains, human and rodent cell systems and genetically engineered mice, Dr. Law’s research has provided insight into the role of a key neurodevelopmental pathway in schizophrenia. Her recent work has identified new therapeutic targets within these signaling pathways, research that will likely progress treatments for schizophrenia. A 2006 NARSAD Young Investigator Grantee, Dr. Law is a senior research fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health.

Prize for Bipolar Mood Disorders Research
David J. Miklowitz, Ph.D. (YI 1987, DI 2001)

UCLA Semel Institute

Dr. Miklowitz’s research focuses on family factors related to the course of major, recurrent psychiatric disorders, notably bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. His studies have been key to helping establish the effectiveness of using psychosocial interventions as adjuncts to medication in the treatment of childhood and adult-onset bipolar disorder. Dr. Miklowitz is professor of psychiatry in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. He has received two NARSAD Grants, including the Young Investigator Grant in 1987 and a Distinguished Investigator Grant in 2001.

Carlos A. Zarate, M.D. (YI 1996, II 2005)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

Dr. Zarate is an internationally recognized authority on the pathophysiology of mood disorders. Through studies of mania, unipolar depression and bipolar depression, he has been seeking to identify relevant therapeutic targets for drug development. Dr. Zarate has pioneered a series of rapidly acting antidepressants by the intravenous route, including the glutamate-active compound ketamine and the blocker of cholinergic receptors scopolamine. Ketamine acts within several hours, and its effects on depression and suicidality last three to five days or more, making it a possible emergency room intervention for those with depression and acute suicidality. Dr. Zarate is chief of the Experimental Therapeutics and Pathophysiology Branch and Section on Neurobiology and Treatment of Mood Disorders of the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute of Mental Health. He has received a 1996 NARSAD Young Investigator Grant and a 2005 NARSAD Independent Investigator Grant.

Also to be honored with the third annual Productive Lives Award will be Fountain House—a community health services and rehabilitation center making extraordinary contributions toward therapy and recovery from mental illness. The award will be accepted by Fountain House President Kenneth J. Dudek.

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