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Director’s Update: Nakamura to receive prestigious IBNS Behavioral Neuroscience Award

NIMH Deputy Director Richard K. Nakamura, Ph.D., was the recipient of the International Behavioral Neuroscience Society's (IBNS) award for "outstanding accomplishments in support of scientific research relevant to behavioral neuroscience." The award was presented on November 15, 2005 at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Washington, DC. This rare honor has only been given to three other U.S. scientists before Dr. Nakamura: Israel Lederhendler, Director of the NIH Office of Electronic Research and Reports Management (OERRM); Kathie Olsen, Deputy Director of the National Science Foundation; and Paul Sanberg, founding president of the IBNS.

The award was presented by Dr. Stephen W. Porges, Professor of Psychiatry and co-Director of the Brain-Body Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Chair of the IBNS Public Relations Committee. In his speech, Dr. Porges praised Dr. Nakamura the administrator and "Richard" the behavioral neuroscientist, noting that Dr. Nakamura's move from intramural research to administration did not disrupt his passion and commitment to behavioral neuroscience.

Dr. Nakamura has served in the position of deputy director of NIMH since 1997, and as NIMH Acting Director from 2001-2002. He has played a key role in revitalizing both NIMH's extramural and intramural research programs. In addition, he has been at the forefront of efforts to speed the translation of scientific knowledge into basic, clinical, and applied research, and to transmit these advances to Congress and the public.

Dr. Nakamura first came to NIMH in 1976 as a postdoctoral fellow in the intramural Laboratory of Neuropsychology, where he conducted behavioral and physiological studies in non-human primates to understand cognitive processing in the brain. He moved to NIMH headquarters in 1986, serving as Chief of the Behavioral and Integrative Neuroscience Research Branch in the early 1990s, and later as Associate Director of Science Policy and Program Planning.

The IBNS was formed in 1992 to encourage research and education in the field of behavioral neuroscience. It has members from 33 different countries and consists of scientists, clinicians, teachers, and others with a background and interest in the relationship between brain and behavior.