Watch Dr. Boris Birmaher’s Video: 2013 Colvin Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Mood Disorders Research

Watch Dr. Boris Birmaher’s Video: 2013 Colvin Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Mood Disorders Research

Posted: November 4, 2013

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Congratulations to Boris Birmaher, M.D., of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine on receiving the 2013 Colvin Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Mood Disorders Research!


“On behalf of all of the families that have been participating in our studies, our patients, clinical and research staff, mentors, and my family, it is a great honor to receive the Colvin Prize for Mood Disorders Research.”

Boris Birmaher, M.D., a leader in the study and treatment of pediatric mood and anxiety disorders, is Professor of Psychiatry and holds the Endowed Chair in Early Onset Bipolar Disease at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He is Director of the Child and Adolescent Bipolar Services program at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic and Co-Director of the Psychiatry Research Pathway for the training of residents in research. He is a Visiting Professor at the University of Tel Aviv.


Dr. Birmaher’s research has helped to clarify many of the controversies surrounding the earliest presentations of bipolar disorder. As one example, in a large multicenter series of studies, he found that children with a form of the illness called bipolar not otherwise specified, who have only brief bursts of mania, were just as ill as those with full-blown bipolar disorder, clearly identifying them as being on the bipolar spectrum and in need of treatment and further study. In studies of children of parents with bipolar disorder, he and his colleagues found that these children, even as young as pre-school age, had a higher-than-normal incidence of depression, bipolar disorder and other illnesses.

Dr. Birmaher is currently involved in several National Institute of Mental Health investigations: a follow-up study of high-risk children of bipolar parents; a study of the course and outcome for adolescents with bipolar disorder; and a longitudinal assessment of mania, aimed at evaluating the predictive value of early-onset manic symptoms in a large sample of children from six to 12 years old.

After receiving his medical degree in 1975 from Valle University, in Cali, Colombia, Dr. Birmaher completed training in general psychiatry at Hebrew University Hadassah Medical Center, in biological psychiatry at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and in child psychiatry at Columbia University, New York Psychiatric Institute. He joined the University of Pittsburgh faculty in 1988.

A Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and Chair-Elect to the Program Committee of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Dr. Birmaher has received numerous honors, including being named “Health Care Hero” by parents in the Pittsburgh area.

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

"Dr. Boris Birmaher has been a pioneer in the description of the course and treatment of childhood-onset bipolar disorder. The data from his group provide a strong empirical basis for early intervention and better treatment of children with bipolar disorder. He has played a leading role in major studies of psychosocial and psychopharmacological interventions for these children."

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