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Clinical and Research News
Scientists Honored for Revealing Secrets of Mental Illness
Psychiatric News
Volume 47 Number 1 page 16-16

Some of the nation’s leading mental health researchers were awarded by the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (formerly known as NARSAD) at the foundation’s annual awards dinner in New York on October 26, 2011.

Carol Tamminga, M.D., chair of psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, and Joel Kleinman, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the Section on Neuropathology at the National Institute of Mental Health, shared the Lieber Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Schizophrenia Research.

David Miklowitz, Ph.D., a professor of psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Carlos Zarate Jr., M.D., chief of the Experimental Therapeutics and Pathophysiology Branch at the National Institute of Mental Health, shared the Bipolar Mood Disorders Prize.

Daniel Pine, M.D., chief of the Section on Development and Affective Neuroscience at the National Institute of Mental Health, received the Ruane Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Research.

Michael Goldberg, M.D., a professor of brain and behavior at Columbia University, received the Goldman-Rakic Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Cognitive Neuroscience.

Finally, Elena Ivleva, M.D., Ph.D., a psychiatry resident at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, and Amanda Law, Ph.D., a senior research fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health, shared the Sidney R. Baer Jr. Prize for Innovative Schizophrenia Research.

Tamminga was recognized for her pioneering schizophrenia research; her early work led to the use of partial dopamine agonists in schizophrenia. She proposed new models that could lead to novel approaches in the treatment of psychosis. Recently she developed a postmortem human-brain repository and a case-specific fibroblast and DNA library to support translational disease research in schizophrenia. She and her colleagues are currently focusing on the cognitive deficits of schizophrenia— deficits for which there are no effective treatments.

Kleinman was awarded for his fundamental discoveries concerning the neuropathology of schizophrenia and its genetic basis, the cellular biology of the hippocampus, mechanisms by which risk genes associated with schizophrenia may exert their effects, and human-brain gene expression across the development cycle.

Miklowitz was cited for his studies of psychotherapies for bipolar depression. He has written two books for clinicians and family members, as well as numerous articles, stressing the importance of psychotherapy and psychoeducation in bipolar disorder.

Zarate was singled out for his pioneering work on rapidly acting antidepressants by the intravenous route— such as ketamine and scopolamine. Ketamine can act within several hours, making it a possible emergency-room intervention for deeply depressed and acutely suicidal patients.

Pine has done groundbreaking work in understanding pediatric and mood disorders. Currently he and his team are examining the degree to which mood and anxiety disorders in children and adolescents are associated with abnormalities in the amygdala and prefrontal cortex.

Goldberg was recognized for contributions to understanding the neural processes underlying primate behavior. His research has helped scientists better appreciate the normal physiological processes that go awry when brain damage affects cognitive functions such as attention, spatial perception, and eye movements.

A native of Russia, Ivleva came to the University of Texas in 2004 on a postdoctoral fellowship. She quickly assimilated the goals and directions of an ongoing, multisite clinical genetics project in psychosis and worked to set up sophisticated measures of eye-tracking and electrophysiology. She has identified both similar and distinguishing characteristics of schizophrenia and psychotic bipolar disorder brain structure and function. She was recognized not only for these achievements, but for her potential as a young schizophrenia scientist.

Law was honored because her work on gene regulation in the developing and adult human brain has provided critical insights into the biological mechanisms that raise genetic risk for schizophrenia and also because of her promise as a young schizophrenia researcher.

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