Ellen Stover, Ph.D., a neuroscientist with a distinguished career at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) died March 16.
Stover began work at NIMH in the 1970s, embarking on a career in behavioral science research that would span decades. She became the director of the Center for Mental Health Research on AIDS at NIMH in 1988 and a division director in 1997, first of the Division of Mental Disorders, Behavioral Research, and AIDS and most recently of the Division of AIDS Research. As the director of the Division of AIDS Research, her work on the behavioral and psychological factors contributing to HIV/AIDS transmission was instrumental in developing successful programs for education, prevention, and treatment. In more recent years, she expanded her work to include research programs on schizophrenia.
NIMH Director Thomas Insel, M.D., said in a statement that Stover’s international leadership fighting for those at risk for or already infected with HIV led to many awards, including NIMH and NIH Director’s awards and the UCLA/Drew University Distinguished Achievement Award. “In addition to her leadership in AIDS research, Ellen and her colleague Wayne Fenton led the NIMH effort to find new treatments for the cognitive deficits in schizophrenia. Ellen recruited some of the best and brightest to the NIMH extramural program, using her administrative and leadership skills to create outstanding program officer teams,” Insel said.
Immediate Past APA President Jeffrey Lieberman, M.D., said, “Ellen’s passing is sad in so many ways for me personally as well as for the field of mental illness research. She was my first program officer at the NIMH who supported me through my first successful grant application. But it was a short-lived relationship, as this was the early 1980s and Ellen was selected to head up the NIMH’s initiative in AIDS. We connected again professionally when she assumed responsibility for the Adult Translational Division. In this context, she formed a close relationship with Wayne Fenton who had recently joined the NIMH and proved a quick study of the mechanics of clinical research from the NIH side and became a valuable addition to the institute. Ellen and Wayne were inseparable and shepherded many grants and investigators successfully. . . . I will remember Ellen fondly and as representing what the NIMH does best—encouraging and supporting young investigators and advancing the field of research on mental illness.” ■