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Clinical and Research News
NARSAD Honors Breakthroughs in Mental Illness Research
Psychiatric News
Volume 42 Number 22 page 14-15
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NARSAD awarded its 2007 prizes for outstanding research achievements on October 19 in New York City. The winners are (from left) James Leckman, M.D., Yale University, Ruane Prize for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry; Helen Mayberg, M.D., Emory University, Falcone Prize for Mood Disorders Research; Eve Johnstone, M.D., Edinburgh University, Lieber Prize for Schizophrenia Research; Jeremy Hall, M.D., Ph.D., Edinburgh University, Sidney R. Baer Jr. Prize; and Huda Akil, Ph.D., University of Michigan, Goldman-Rakic Prize for Cognitive Neuroscience. 

Credit: NARSAD/Charles Manley

NARSAD is the world's leading mental health research charity. Since its inception 20 years ago, it has awarded more than 3,200 research grants totaling more than $219 million to scientists working in the United States and 26 other countries.

At its annual fundraising gala last month, NARSAD awarded annual prizes for achievement in mental health research. These awards went to the following scientists:

The Lieber Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Schizophrenia Research was awarded to Eve Johnstone, M.D., a professor of psychiatry at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. For more than three decades she has used advanced brain-imaging methods to elucidate structural and functional changes associated with schizophrenia. According to William Bunney Jr., M.D., chair of NARSAD's Lieber Prize Selection Committee, "She initiated the most replicated finding in the literature on psychosis—enlargement of the lateral ventricles in the brain."

The Falcone Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Mood Disorders Research went to Helen Mayberg, M.D., a professor of psychiatry at Emory University. For more than 20 years she has used functional neuroimaging to examine neural mechanisms implicated in the onset of depression. She also hypothesized, on the basis of the information she had collected, that the anterior cingulate cortex was pivotal in regulating depressed mood and proceeded to stimulate this region electrically. Thus, deep brain stimulation for treatment-resistant depression was born. "A number of the most treatment-resistant patients who received this treatment have shown remarkable antidepressant responses," Robert Post, M.D., chair of NARSAD's Falcone Prize Selection Committee, commented.

The Ruane Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Research was given to James Leckman, M.D., a professor of child psychiatry at Yale University. His research has focused on autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and Tourette's disorder. His main research interest is the interaction between genes and environment in obsessive-compulsive disorder and Tourette's. "He has also organized one of the premier clinical and research training programs in child psychiatry, which will guarantee excellent clinical research for our next generation," Judith Rapoport, M.D., chair of the Ruane Prize Selection Committee, said.

The Goldman-Rakic Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Cognitive Neuroscience was given to Huda Akil, Ph.D., a professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at the University of Michigan. Akil has made valuable contributions to understanding the neurobiology of emotions, including pain, anxiety, and depression. Early on, she and her colleagues provided the first physiological evidence for the role of endorphins in the brain and showed that endorphins are activated by stress and inhibit pain.

The Sidney R. Baer Jr. Prize for Schizophrenia Research went to Jeremy Hall, M.D., Ph.D., a research council fellow at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Hall has been studying genetic factors influencing cognitive function in major mental disorders. His work integrates neuroimaging and neuropsychology with genetics. ▪

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NARSAD awarded its 2007 prizes for outstanding research achievements on October 19 in New York City. The winners are (from left) James Leckman, M.D., Yale University, Ruane Prize for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry; Helen Mayberg, M.D., Emory University, Falcone Prize for Mood Disorders Research; Eve Johnstone, M.D., Edinburgh University, Lieber Prize for Schizophrenia Research; Jeremy Hall, M.D., Ph.D., Edinburgh University, Sidney R. Baer Jr. Prize; and Huda Akil, Ph.D., University of Michigan, Goldman-Rakic Prize for Cognitive Neuroscience. 

Credit: NARSAD/Charles Manley

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