Skip to content

Director’s Update: NIMH Employees Honored with 2012 NIH Director’s Awards

On July 18, 2012, several NIMH employees were honored with NIH Director’s Awards for their excellence in furthering our understanding of mental disorders. Recipients of the NIH Director’s Award are recognized for their superior performance or special efforts significantly beyond their regular duty requirements, but directly related to fulfilling the NIH mission.

Bruce Cuthbert, Ph.D., received the award for his outstanding leadership and direction of the NIMH Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) project, which is an effort to develop new ways to classify mental illness psychopathology. RDoC is a major undertaking, aimed at mapping our current understanding of the brain circuitry that is involved in behavioral and cognitive functioning.  By essentially breaking down mental disorders into their component pieces, RDoC aims to add to the knowledge we have gained from more traditional research approaches that focus solely on understanding mental disorders based on symptoms. The hope is that by changing the way we approach mental disorders, RDoC will help us open the door to new targets of preventive and treatment interventions. In addition to spearheading and managing RDoC, Dr. Cuthbert also capably leads the Division of Adult Translational Research and Treatment, which continues to fund initiatives to develop new treatments for mental disorders. His invaluable leadership and dedication to NIMH makes a significant public health impact.

The National Database for Autism Research (NDAR ) team received the award for its tremendous effort to coordinate, establish and maintain this progressive and cutting-edge information-sharing project. NDAR’s mission is to facilitate data-sharing and scientific collaboration on a broad scale, providing a shared common platform for autism researchers to accelerate scientific discovery. Built around the concept of federated repositories, NDAR integrates and standardizes data, tools, and computational techniques across multiple public and private autism databases. Through NDAR, researchers can access results from these different sources at the same time, using the rich data set to conduct independent analyses, supplement their own research data, or evaluate the data supporting published journal articles, among many other uses. Detailed clinical, genomic, image and other rich datasets from 45,000 subjects are destined for NDAR. The technology used for NDAR will likely be useful beyond NIH as well.

NDAR is supported by NIMH, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD ), the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) , the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS ), and the NIH Center for Information Technology (CIT ). NDAR team members are:

  • Greg Farber, NIMH
  • Frank Avenilla, NIMH
  • Patrick Bender, NIMH
  • Janice Cordell, NINDS
  • Michelle Freund, NIMH
  • Lisa Gilotty, NIMH
  • Daniel Hall, NIMH
  • Deborah Hirtz, NINDS
  • Michael Huerta, National Library of Medicine
  • Alice Kau, NICHD
  • Brian Koser, NIMH
  • Cindy Lawler, NIEHS
  • Laura Mamounas, NINDS
  • Matthew McAuliffe, CIT
  • Gretchen Navidi, NIMH
  • Svetlana Novikova, NIMH
  • David Panchision, NIMH
  • Judith Rumsey, NIMH
  • Anne Sperling, NIMH
  • Eric Stanton, NIMH
  • Ljubisa Vitkovic, NICHD
  • Ann Wagner, NIMH
  • Timothy Wolfe, NIMH