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Director’s Report to the 230th National Advisory Mental Health Council


I am pleased to welcome members of the National Advisory Mental Health Council (NAMHC), speakers and guests to our 230th meeting. In this report I will share with you information about new and ongoing initiatives at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).


In late December 2011, Congress passed and the President signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012, which makes available $30.869 billion for NIH and $1.480 billion for NIMH for fiscal year (FY) 2012. This represents increases over FY 2011 levels of 0.8% for NIH and 0.2% for NIMH. The NIH and NIMH levels for FY 2012 are lower than the President’s FY 2012 budget request (which included increases over FY 2011 levels of 4.4% for NIH and 2.9% for NIMH), and lower than inflation, which is estimated to be at 3.0% for FY 2012; however, relative to other federal agencies, NIH and NIMH have fared well.

As part of the National Defense Authorization for FY 2012, which was signed into law by the President on December 31, 2011, the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs were reauthorized for six years. The National Defense Authorization also calls for a few key changes to these small business programs which increase the flexibility of the program. These changes include: Small businesses that are primarily owned by venture capital will now be allowed to participate in the program and the Authorization has increased funding flexibility in awarding Phase I and Phase II SBIRs across different federal agencies. In addition, the congressional set aside for the SBIR program will increase each year from 2.5% in FY 2011 to 3.2% in FY 2017. The set aside for the STTR program increases from 0.30% in FY11 to 0.45% in FY 2017.

FY 2012 Funding Strategy for Research Grants

NIMH awarded 465 new and competing research project grants (RPGs) in FY 2011, the lowest number since 1998 and a 16% reduction from FY 2010. This number would have been lower, if not for strategic reductions in numerous areas, including centers, conferences, and our intramural research program. Thanks to these austerity measures, we expect to be able to award over 500 new and competing RPGs in FY 2012.

In FY 2012, NIMH will support new and competing RPGs at a level equivalent to the 15th percentile for established investigators and at a level equivalent to the 18th percentile for new and early stage investigators. As in previous years, we will implement a “select pay” policy, in which we may support grants beyond our nominal payline, in order to focus on innovative projects relevant to the NIMH Strategic Plan, and to facilitate funding of new and early stage investigators at success rates comparable to established investigators. We will also continue to invest approximately 15% of our competing RPG funds towards Requests for Applications that target gap areas in which we are not receiving unsolicited grant applications. In several ways, our funding strategy for FY 2012 will be shaped by the significant reductions to our appropriation anticipated in FY 2013 and beyond (described below). For example, we will place increased emphasis on funding grants with limited out-year commitments, such as administrative supplements.

Non-competing continuation grants will be maintained at FY 2011 levels, for both modular and non-modular grants. No inflationary increases will be allowed in FY 2012, for either modular or non-modular grants. For non-modular grants, remaining future year budgets will be adjusted to remove inflationary increases. A 2% stipend increase will be allowed in FY 2012 for research training grants.

Outlook for FY 2013

The Budget Control Act of 2011, which was signed into law this past August, requires the Federal government to reduce spending by up to $1.5 trillion, with reductions spread evenly over FYs 2013-2021. The legislation provides two paths along which such savings could be achieved. The first path calls for a special Congressional committee to identify targeted reductions, whereas the second path, which has been activated due to the failure of the first path, calls for level across-the-board reductions, through a process called sequestration. Under the sequestration process defined by the legislation, non-security discretionary programs, including NIH, can expect an approximately 8% reduction in FY 2013 from FY 2011 levels. It is unknown whether additional legislation will be passed between now and FY 2013 to adjust the overall reduction and/or to make it more targeted toward specific agencies or programs.

NIH-Wide Updates

Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee

On September 30, 2011, President Obama signed the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act (CARA) into law, ensuring that all vital Federal autism research and services programs would continue without disruption and allowing the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) to carry on its work until 2014. The legislation, Public Law 112-32 (PDF – 119 KB), sponsored by Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Mike Enzi (R-WY) in the Senate and Congressmen Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Mike Doyle (D-PA) in the House of Representatives, reauthorizes ongoing efforts related to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) across agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and in collaboration with other Federal agencies. In addition to continuation of the IACC, these efforts include biomedical and services research, surveillance activities to determine national prevalence, and programs to promote early diagnosis and intervention.

Nominations for public members to serve on the IACC under CARA were requested via a public call for nominations. Secretary Sebelius will make the final selections and appointments of public members to the committee. Following the completion of the appointment process, the committee will reconvene in the spring of 2012.

National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences

The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) was formally established as a new component of the NIH in a provision included in the omnibus appropriations bill for FY 2012, passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama on December 23, 2011. This is an important step forward in NIH’s efforts to speed the delivery of new drugs, diagnostics, and medical devices to patients. Just over a year ago, the Scientific Management Review Board recommended the establishment of this new component of NIH. While translational science is a priority for most Institutes, including NIMH, NCATS will provide tools and experiments for re-engineering the process of translation, including new partnerships with industry, FDA, and DARPA.

With the establishment of NCATS, the NIH National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) has been disbanded. In his note to staff on December 17, 2011, NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., paid tribute to the important contributions of the employees and grantees to NCRR, recognizing its rich history. He remarked that NCRR’s scientific legacy will live on and indicated that the Center has established and administered a remarkably diverse portfolio of research programs over more than two decades, most recently including the re-invention of the nation’s academic clinical research network in the form of the Clinical and Translational Sciences Awards (CTSAs). The CTSAs and other programs will remain components of NCATS. Former NCRR staff and programs will transition into new areas within NCATS and other Institutes and Centers (ICs). As Dr. Collins reflected on the many accomplishments of NCRR, he also encouraged all to look ahead to NCATS realizing its vision of catalyzing innovation.

NIH Common Fund Programs and Initiatives

The NIH Common Fund encourages collaboration and supports a series of exceptionally high impact, trans-NIH programs. The Common Fund is coordinated by the Office of Strategic Coordination, one of the six offices of the Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives (DPCPSI) within the Office of the Director. The intent of NIH Common Fund programs is to provide a strategic and nimble approach to address key roadblocks in biomedical research that impede basic scientific discovery and its translation into improved human health. In addition, these programs capitalize on emerging opportunities to catalyze the rate of progress across multiple biomedical fields.

  • Library of Integrated Network-Based Cellular Signatures (LINCS) (NIMH Program Lead: Lois Winsky, Ph.D.)
    The LINCS program supports the high-throughput collection and integrative computational analyses of informative molecular and cellular signatures. A consortium meeting held in October 2011, assembled funded investigators for the first time to address how to integrate multi-dimensional assays into a single coherent LINCS database, to identify promising new assays that could be included in a full-scale LINCS program, to develop new tools to visualize and analyze the complex LINCS database, and to develop strategies to incorporate new expertise and biomedical science areas while also generating a resource of general usefulness to the scientific community.
  • Health Economics (NIMH Program Leads: David Chambers, D.Phil., Agnes Rupp, Ph.D.)
    The Health Economics Program was launched in the wake of national health care reform to support research on how specific features of the structure or organization of health care delivery organizations and reimbursement systems influence how health care technologies are adopted and combined by health care providers; it aims also to ascertain how they are applied or used for specific patients and how those features could be modified to enhance efficiency. The program, co-led by NIMH and NIA, has launched multiple RFAs on the economics of prevention, organization, structure and delivery of care, incentives to incorporate comparative effectiveness results into health care systems and knowledge to improve long-term care. NIH recently released a Request for Information to solicit input on the feasibility, scope, and design of a State Health Policy Database (SHPD) (NOT-RM-11-019) to identify specific policy areas for inclusion in the SHPD, by identifying key research questions that could be addressed using policy information in particular areas, viable research designs that will allow those questions to be answered, and additional data that are required to implement those research designs. Twelve responses were received from researchers in academia and other organizations. This input will assist the Program in developing the SHPDR for scientific research purposes.
  • Metabolomics Initiative (NIMH Program Lead: Laurie Nadler, Ph.D.)
    Metabolomics is the study of low molecular weight molecules or metabolites found within cells and biological systems. The metabolome is a measure of the output of biological pathways and, as such, is often considered more representative of the functional state of a cell than other ‘omics’ measures such as genomics or proteomics. In addition, metabolites are conserved across various animal species, facilitating the extrapolation of research findings in laboratory animals to humans. Common technologies for measuring the metabolome include mass spectrometry (MS) and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR), which can measure hundreds to thousands of unique chemical entities (UCE). Despite early promise, challenges remain before the full potential of metabolomics can be realized. Existing metabolomics facilities are at capacity, with relatively few scientists who possess in-depth expertise in metabolomics, and a dearth of training opportunities to gain that expertise. Some companies provide metabolomics services and limited standards; however, issues with cost, intellectual property rights and limited profit incentives minimize their use in basic, clinical, and translational research. Six Metabolomics RFAs have been issued since mid-November 2011.
  • Science of Behavior Change: Finding Mechanisms of Change in the Laboratory and the Field (NIMH Program Leads: Shelli Avenevoli, Ph.D., Bettina Osborn, Ph.D.)
    The NIH Science of Behavior Change (SOBC) Common Fund program seeks to promote basic research on the initiation, personalization and maintenance of behavior change. By integrating work across disciplines, this effort is intended to lead to an improved understanding of the underlying principles of behavior change. In October 2011, the SOBC submitted an annual progress report to the NIH Office of the Director summarizing its accomplishments including a fiscal year (FY) 2010 RFA on mechanisms of behavior change, a FY 2011 investigators meeting, strategic planning around promoting science of behavior change and the development of 4 new initiative concepts. The progress report included requests for funds and clearance for continued activities. Plans are underway for a 2012 trans-NIH SOBC meeting and for the second annual meeting of investigators funded under the 2010 RFA.

Early Independence Awards

The NIH Director’s Early Independence Award program (EIA) represents a new approach to stimulate outstanding and highly innovative junior investigators who possess the intellect, scientific creativity, drive and maturity to begin an independent academic position as early in their careers as possible—immediately following completion of their graduate research degrees. The EIA program is intended to spur productive new careers and pioneering research. Ten awards were issued with two in areas of relevance for NIMH, including:

  • John Calarco, Ph.D., Harvard University (“Investigating the role of alternative splicing regulatory networks in nervous system development and function”) is studying how alternative pre-mRNA splicing, a key gene regulatory step in metazoans, contributes to development and function of the nervous system. He has applied numerous genome-wide and directed approaches to investigate this topic, resulting in several observations regarding the evolution and impact of alternative splicing regulation in the nervous system. (IC Associate Program Officer: Bob Riddle, NIDDK)
  • Rodney C. Samaco, Ph.D., Baylor College of Medicine (“The genetic and neuroanatomical origin of social behavior”) has been focusing on understanding the role of the transcriptional modulator, MeCP2, in the regulation of molecular pathways underlying the neuropsychiatric features of Rett syndrome and related disorders. Through his EIA project, he is focusing on studying the key neuroanatomical and molecular determinants of social behavior using mouse models of autism spectrum disorder. (IC Associate Program Officer: Andrea Beckel-Mitchener, NIMH)

NIMH Updates

Office of Constituency Relations and Public Liaison (OCRPL)

NIMH has selected 28 new partners for its Outreach Partnership Program, a national outreach and education initiative which recruits nonprofit organizations through a competitive expert peer review process. Outreach Partners have now been selected in each state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico to work with NIMH to disseminate the latest mental health-related research findings within their states and local communities, informing the public about mental disorders, and helping to reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness.

Recent NIH and NIMH Meetings of Interest

World Congress of the World Federation for Mental Health

On October 16-21, 2011 staff from the NIMH Office for Research on Disparities and Global Mental Health (ORDGMH) participated in the World Congress of the World Federation for Mental Health in Cape Town, South Africa. NIMH sponsored 15 U.S. early career investigators to attend the joint NIMH/Wellcome Trust Networking Workshop. The Wellcome Trust is a charitable foundation based in the United Kingdom that funds medical humanities and biomedical research. The Trust supports programs in neuroscience, mental health and global health. The aim of this shared activity was to facilitate networking and career development opportunities for U.S. investigators interested in global mental health. NIMH hosted a symposium, Mental Health and the Global Health Agenda: The Role of the Grand Challenges in Global Mental Health Initiative, during which the methods, findings, and future directions of the Grand Challenges in Global Mental Health were presented to an international audience. In a workshop titled, Meet the National Institute of Mental Health: Opportunities for Research and Research Training, NIMH staff introduced participants to the NIMH, outlining its scientific areas of interest, funding mechanisms, and associated activities in global mental health research.

2011 NIMH BRAINS Award Ceremony

NIMH held a reception to honor the third class of Biobehavioral Research Awards for Innovative New Scientists (BRAINS) on November 12, 2011 at the Society for Neuroscience (SFN) meeting in Washington, DC. The BRAINS award is intended to support highly innovative R01 research projects from outstanding, early stage scientists and their career development. Phil Wang, M.D., Dr.P.H. opened the ceremony with a scientific overview of innovative research in priority areas currently supported by NIMH. Each of the awardees then gave a brief overview of their research project that will be supported by the BRAINS grant. Following the presentations, NIMH program staff, prior BRAINS grantees and SFN attendees had an opportunity to network with the 2011 BRAINS awardees. The 2011 BRAINS awardees are:

  • Rachel Alison Adcock, M.D., Ph.D., Duke University, Motivated Memory as Therapeutic Target
  • Madhavi K. Ganapathiraju, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, Discovery of Mental Health and Inflammation (MHAIN) Interactome
  • Carmen Joseph Marsit, Ph.D., Dartmouth Medical School, Epigenetics in Neurodevelopment and Mental Health
  • Michael Peter Milham, M.D., Ph.D., New York University, Discovery Science of Human Brain Function Across the Lifespan
  • Vijay A. Mittal, Ph.D., University of Colorado, Frontal-Subcortical Development, Movement Abnormalities, and Risk for Psychosis
  • Dost Ongur, M.D., Ph.D., McLean Hospital, Probing the White Matter in Schizophrenia Using Novel MRS Techniques
  • Koraly E. Perez-Edgar, Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University, Attention Training's Impact on Biobehavioral Correlates of Behavioral Inhibition
  • Jeremy Veenstra-Vanderweele, M.D., Vanderbilt University, Neurobiological Signatures of Social Dysfunction and Repetitive Behavior
  • Larry S. Zweifel, Ph.D., University of Washington, Functional Mapping of Dopamine-Dependent Fear Circuitry through Advanced Genetic

Grantee Awards and Honors

  • William Bunney, M.D., Distinguished Professor Psychiatry and Human Behavior at the University of California, Irvine and Ellen Frank, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh received the Institute of Medicine’s 2011 Sarnat International Prize in Mental Health for their complementary achievements in enhancing treatment and understanding of mood disorders.
  • Barbara Dosher, Ph.D., Dean of University of California, Irvine’s School of Social Sciences and Professor of Cognitive Sciences has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Dosher is recognized for her work on visual attention, memory and perceptual learning.
  • Loren Frank, Ph.D., was awarded the Young Investigator Award by SFN at the 2011 Annual Meeting in Washington, DC on November 14, 2011. Dr. Frank’s work has made groundbreaking discoveries in episodic memory consolidation, linking offline processing of information at the level of sequences of individual action potentials with larger-scale coordinated activity of brain networks.
  • Daniel H. Geschwind, M.D., Ph.D., the Gordon and Virginia MacDonald Distinguished Chair in Human Genetics and Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies in October 2011.
  • Hakon Heimer, Executive Director, Schizophrenia Research Forum, was awarded the Media Award from the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) in recognition of major contributions to public awareness of mental illness research and treatment at the 2011 Annual Meeting.
  • Melissa Jonson-Reid, Ph.D., Professor and Center Director at George Warren Brown School of Social Work, Washington University, received the Dr. Terry Leet Researcher Award on October 13, 2011 from the St. Louis Chapter of the Maternal Child and Family Health Coalition. Recognized for her outstanding work on transdisciplinary approaches to child maltreatment prevention and intervention, Dr. Jonson-Reid and five other awardees were honored at the Standing Up for Mothers and Babies Awards Dinner.
  • Alan Kazdin, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology and Child Psychiatry at Yale University and Director of the Yale Parenting Center, was the sole recipient of the American Psychological Association’s (APA) 2011 Award for Distinguished Scientific Applications of Psychology. Dr. Kazdin was recognized by the APA for outstanding and path breaking contributions to the understanding of the development, assessment and treatment of psychopathology.
  • Elizabeth Kensinger, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of the Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Laboratory at Boston College was named one of the two recipients of the 2011 Young Investigator Award from the Cognitive Neuroscience Society at their 18th Annual Meeting in San Francisco in April 2011. Dr. Kensinger is recognized for her work on interactions between emotion and memory across the lifespan.
  • Philip Lavori, Ph.D., Professor of Biostatistics in the Department of Health Research and Policy at Stanford University is the recipient of the 2011 Harvard Award in Psychiatric Epidemiology and Biostatistics in recognition of lifelong career contributions that have significantly advanced the field of Psychiatric Biostatistics. He will present the award lecture at the Harvard School of Public Health on April 11, 2012.
  • Robert Malenka, M.D., Ph.D. was awarded the Julius Axelrod Mentorship Award from the ACNP for outstanding contributions to neuropsychopharmacology by mentoring and developing young scientists into leaders in the field at the 2011 Annual Meeting.
  • Colleen McClung, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh received the International Mental Health Research Organization (IMHRO) Rising Star Translational Research Award in December 2011. Dr. McClung’s research focuses on the role of circadian genes in mood regulation.
  • David J. Miklowitz, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles Semel Institute was awarded an Outstanding Research Achievement Prize for Bipolar Mood Disorders Research from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation on October 26, 2011. Dr. Miklowitz’s research focuses on family factors related to the course of major, recurrent psychiatric disorders, notably bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
  • Lisa Monteggia, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center received two awards in 2011: ACNP Daniel H. Efron Research Award for outstanding basic/translational research contributions to neuropsychopharmacology at the 2011 Annual Meeting; and, the IMHRO Rising Star Basic Research Award.
  • Read Montague, Ph.D., Professor in the Department of Physics at Virginia Tech and Director of the Human Neuroimaging Laboratory and Computational Psychiatry Unit at Virginia Tech Carillion Research Institute received a Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellowship in 2011. This award is the most prestigious of the Wellcome Trust personal awards and provides long-term support for researchers of international standing. Dr. Montague’s fellowship will support his ongoing research program in the computational neuroscience of social behavior and psychopathology.
  • Roger Nicoll, M.D., Professor in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology at the University of California San Francisco and an NIMH Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT) award recipient was awarded the Julius Axelrod Prize at the 2011 SFN meeting. The Axelrod Prize was established to honor a scientist with distinguished achievements in neuropharmacology or a related area, and to recognize exemplary efforts in mentoring young scientists.
  • Enola Proctor, Ph.D., M.S.S.W., Professor, George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University was presented the Ruth Knee/Milton Wittman Award for Lifetime Achievement in Health and Mental Health Practice by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) in Washington, DC on January 11, 2012. Created in 1989, the award recognizes individuals whose values, ethics and approach exemplify those of Ruth Knee and Milton Wittman, two NASW Social Work Pioneers.
  • Kerry Ressler, M.D., Ph.D., was awarded the Eva King Killam Research Award from ACNP for outstanding translational research contributions to neuropsychopharmacology at the 2011 Annual Meeting.
  • Amar Sahay, Ph.D., new to the faculty at Harvard University Medical School, received the Janett Rosenberg Trubatch Career Development Award at the annual SFN meeting in November 2011. Dr. Sahay’s research involves studying the plasticity and function of adult-born neurons and neural stem cells in relation to their role in depression and affective disorders.
  • Gerald Sanacora, M.D., Ph.D., was awarded the Joel Elkes Research Award from ACNP in recognition of an outstanding clinical/translational contribution to neuropsychopharmacology at the 2011 Annual Meeting.
  • Carla J. Shatz, Ph.D., Professor of Biology and Neurobiology and Director of Bio-X at Stanford University received the Ralph W. Gerard Prize in Neuroscience at the annual SFN meeting in November 2011. This prize holds great prestige in the field of neuroscience, allowing researchers to recognize the work of their peers.
  • Jeffrey Swanson, Ph.D., Professor in the Division of Social and Community Psychiatry, and Marvin Swartz, M.D., Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Executive Vice Chair, both at the Duke University School of Medicine, were joint recipients of the 2011 Carl Taube Award. This prestigious award, granted by the Mental Health Section of the American Public Health Association, is given to scholars who have made significant career contributions in the field of mental health services research. Drs. Swanson and Swartz have collaborated for two decades on research studies of mental health services for persons with severe mental illness and have written extensively on violence, involuntary outpatient commitment, mandated community treatment, psychiatric advance directives and effectiveness of antipsychotic medications.
  • Carol Tamminga, M.D., Professor and Chair in Psychiatry at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, was awarded the Paul Hoch Distinguished Service Award from ACNP in recognition of outstanding service to ACNP at the 2011 Annual Meeting. In addition, Dr. Tamminga was recognized by the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation with the Lieber Prize for Schizophrenia Research at the Annual New York City Awards Dinner in October 2011.
  • Zuoxin Wang, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at the Florida State University has been elected to be an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow. He will be officially inducted on Feb 18, 2012 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Dr. Wang investigates the neurobiology of social attachment, the mechanisms of social and drug reward interactions and the regulation of adult neurogenesis.
  • Mark Weist, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at the University of South Carolina received the University’s Clinical-Community Program Director’s Award in May 2011 for improving graduate education in clinical/community psychology. In November 2010, he was appointed Chair of the Advisory Board for the Clifford Bears Foundation, an international organization focused on mental health promotion.
  • David Zald, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at Vanderbilt University received the Chancellor's Research Award on August 26, 2011 for his pioneering work on the linkage between personality and individual differences in dopaminergic function.
  • Luis Zayas, Ph.D., was appointed Dean of the School of Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin, effective January 1, 2012. Dr. Zayas was previously the Shanti K. Khinduka Distinguished Professor of Social Work at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work and Professor of Psychiatry in the School of Medicine at Washington University.

NIMH Awards and Honors

  • NIH’s National Database for Autism Research (NDAR) is among three “Secretary’s Picks” in the third round of the HHSinnovates competition. The pioneering data-sharing resource was singled out for the special honor from a field of 85 department programs. NDAR is a versatile platform that aims to bring together 90 percent or more of all human research data concerning autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
  • Pamela Collins, M.D., M.P.H., Director ORDGMH, received a National Institutes of Health Merit Award in October 2011 for her activities on behalf of scientific workforce diversity within NIH. Dr. Collins and four colleagues from NIA, NCI, NINDS, and the NIH Clinical Center developed an action plan for diversifying the NIH Intramural Research Program while participating in the NIH-Brookings Institution Executive Leadership Program.
  • Joel Kleinman, M.D., Ph.D., Section Chief of the Section of Neuropathology and Deputy Chief of the Clinical Brain Disorders Branch in the Division of Intramural Research Programs (IRP) was recognized by the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation with the Lieber Prize for Schizophrenia Research at the Annual New York City Awards Dinner in October 2011.
  • Amanda Law, M.Sc., Ph.D., a Senior Research Fellow in the Clinical Brain Disorders Branch of the IRP was awarded the Sidney R. Baer, Jr. Prize for Schizophrenia Research by the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation (formerly NARSAD) at the Annual New York City Awards Dinner in October 2011.
  • Mortimer Mishkin, Ph.D., Chief of the Section on Cognitive Neuroscience in the Neuropsychology Lab and Leslie Ungerleider, Ph.D., Chief of the Brain and Cognition Lab at the IRP are joint recipients of the 2012 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Psychology for their “what and where” idea of how the brain works. They were the first to demonstrate that the brain uses separate visual processing systems to recognize objects and fix their location.
  • Daniel Pine, M.D., Chief of the Section on Development and Affective Neuroscience and Chief of Emotion and Development Branch in the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program, IRP was recognized by the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation with the Ruane Prize for Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Research at the Annual New York City Awards Dinner in October 2011.
  • Carlos Zarate, M.D., Chief of the Experimental Therapeutics of the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program, IRP was recognized by the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation with the Bipolar Mood Disorder Prize at the Annual New York City Awards Dinner in October 2011.

NIMH Staff News

  • Karen Berman, M.D., was named Chief of the Clinical Brain Disorders Branch of the IRP. Dr. Berman will continue in her capacity as Chief of the Section on Integrative Neuroimaging within the Branch. An active member of the NIH community, Dr. Berman is an outstanding scientist in the fields of neuroimaging, schizophrenia and Williams Syndrome.
  • Stefano Bertuzzi, Ph.D., M.P.H., was named Director of the Office of Science Policy, Planning and Communications at NIMH in November 2011. Dr. Bertuzzi previously worked in the NIH Office of Science Policy as the director for the Return on Investments program, an effort that developed analyses to document the impact of NIH research. He also co-directed the Science and Technology for America’s Reinvestment: Measuring the Effect of Research on Innovation, Competitiveness and Science (STAR METRICS) program, a project aimed at building an information infrastructure to capture the impact of the Federal government’s investments in research and development. Prior to this, Dr. Bertuzzi was a staff scientist at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, joining that institute from the Dulbecco Telethon Institute in Milan, Italy where he was a tenured director for the laboratory of mammalian genetics. Dr. Bertuzzi holds a doctorate in molecular biotechnology from the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan, Italy and a master’s degree in public health from Johns Hopkins University.
  • François Boller, M.D., Ph.D., joined the newly formed NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, where he will serve as Medical Officer with the Clinical and Translational Science Awards. Dr. Boller joined the NIMH Review Branch within the Division of Extramural Activities in the fall of 2008 as a Scientific Review Officer. During his tenure at NIMH, he oversaw the review of applications representing a wide array of scientific areas, including mental health interventions research and HIV/AIDS research.
  • Shelia Bolt has begun work as a Contract Specialist within the United States Department of the Air Force in October 2011. Ms. Bolt had joined NIMH in February 2005 as a Program Specialist in ORDGMH, and recently completed a detail in the NIMH Contracting Office.
  • Jing Du, M.D., Ph.D., a Staff Scientist in the Molecular Pathophysiology Lab in the IRP since 2001, has departed NIMH to pursue other scientific endeavors. Dr. Du has received several awards and honors, including an ACNP/Sanofi-Aventis Pharmaceutical Travel Award, NIH Performance Awards, the FARE Award and the ASCB Travel Award.
  • Venkata (Anand) Mattay, M.D., Director of the Neuroimaging Core Facility of the Genes, Cognition and Psychosis Program in the IRP has accepted a position at the Lieber Institute. Dr. Mattay has been the recipient of the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Staff Recognition Award for sustained high quality work performance and has published over 125 scientific articles, as well as authoring or co-authoring several review articles and chapters.
  • Darren Schneider has been selected as the NIMH Budget Officer and Chief of the Planning and Financial Management Branch in the Office of Resource Management. With NIMH since 2007, Mr. Schneider served as the IRP Budget Analyst and more recently as a Senior Budget Analyst within the Planning and Financial Management Branch. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in financial management, analysis and evaluation.
  • Patrick Shirdon moved to the National Institute on Aging in early January 2012 to serve as that Institute’s Executive Officer. Since joining NIMH in 2005, first as Deputy Executive Officer and then as Executive Officer in 2007, Mr. Shirdon has been a tremendous asset. It is a testament to his leadership that the NIMH Office of Resource Management has been at the forefront at NIH with many of the best practices now being adopted by other sister ICs.
  • Marina Volkov, Ph.D., recently accepted a position with the NIH Director's Office of Science Policy. Dr. Volkov joined NIMH’s Office of Science Policy, Planning, and Communications (OSPPC) in 2004 and served as the office’s Acting Director from 2008 – 2011. During her tenure in OSPPC, she coordinated the creation and implementation of the current NIMH Strategic Plan. While Acting Director, she oversaw a significant increase in the Institute's communication reach, including a newly designed website and a rapidly growing presence in social media. Prior to coming to NIMH, Dr. Volkov worked in scientific review at the National Institute on Drug Abuse and served in several roles related to science policy and analysis in the NIH Office of the Director.


  • Margaret “Margie” Baritz retired in December 2011 after 34 years of service to NIH. Previously a grants specialist at the National Eye Institute (NEI), Ms. Baritz came to NIMH in 2002 as a senior grants specialist in the Institute’s Grants Management Branch. Her broad portfolio included the Research Centers Program within the Division of Services and Intervention Research and the Autism Spectrum Disorder Program within the Division of Developmental Translational Research.
  • Alison Bennett retired in October 2011 after 21 years of government service. Having served in a number of positions at the Institute, Alison most recently worked as a Senior Program Analyst in the Office of Constituency Relations and Public Liaison. In that role, she played a key role in encouraging and sustaining two-way communication between NIMH and its major stakeholders, including the NIMH Alliance for Research Progress, NIMH Professional Coalition for Research Progress, the NIMH Outreach Partnership Program and congressional relations activities.
  • Joy Knipple retired in December 2011 after 16 years of service to NIH. Previously a grants specialist at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), Ms. Knipple came to the Institute in 2000, where she served as one of three supervisory team leaders for the Institute’s Grants Management Branch. She was key in managing the grant portfolios for the Division of Services and Intervention Research and the Division of Developmental Translational Research.
  • Jon Marsh, Ph.D., retired from the IRP in December 2011. Most recently working as a Staff Scientist in the Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Regulation, Dr. Marsh began his research at NIMH on HIV in the Molecular Biology Lab. While at the Institute, he invented an HIV-dependent expression vector that provides a DNA construct that can be useful for both diagnostics and AIDS therapeutics.

National Institute of Mental Health
FY 2011 - FY 2012 Budget (Total)
(Dollars in Thousands)

  FY 2011 Actual
  Success Rate = 22% (2,509 Appls.)
  Non-Competing Competing Total
  No. Amount No. Amount No. Amount
Research Grants:            
Research Projects:            
Noncompeting 1,565 682,950     1,565 682,950
Admin. Suppl (39) 15,370     (39) 15,370
Competing     465 183,035 465 183,035
Subtotal 1,565 698,320 465 183,035 2,030 881,355
SBIR/STTR 31 14,111 63 20,147 94 34,258
Subtot.,RPG 1,596 712,431 528 203,182 2,124 915,613
Research Centers 48 85,745 15 22,708 63 108,453
Other Research:            
Res. Careers 313 50,179 69 10,218 382 60,397
Coop. Clin. Res 0 0 0 0 0 0
Other 73 24,909 25 4,092 98 29,001
Subtot., Other 386 75,088 94 14,310 480 89,398
Total Res.Grants 2,030 873,264 637 240,200 2,667 1,113,464
Research Training: FTTP   FTTP   FTTP  
Individual 159 6,111 96 3,892 255 10,003
Institutional. 589 27,831 76 3,528 665 31,359
Total Training 748 33,942 172 7,420 920 41,362
R&D Contracts 139 74,542 7 3,870 146 78,412
    (51)     0 (51)
Total, Extramural   981,748   251,490   1,233,238
  FTEs:   FTEs:   FTEs:  
Intramural Res 366 166,869     366 169,869
Res. Mgmt. & Supp 243 74,151     243 74,151
Total, NIMH 609 1,225,768 0 251,490 609 1,477,258



  FY 2012 Estimate (+.2%> FY 2011 Actuals)
  Non-Competing Competing Total
  No. Amount No. Amount No. Amount
Research Grants:            
Research Projects:            
Noncompeting 1,526 662,118     1,526 662,118
Admin. Suppl (40) 15,000     (40) 15,000
Competing     531 208,964 531 209,964
Subtotal 1,526 677,118 531 208,964 2,057 886,082
SBIR/STTR 57 21,827 46 14,687 103 36,514
Subtot.,RPG 1,583 698,945 577 223,651 2,160 922,596
Research Centers 46 79,578 19 28,875 65 108,453
Other Research:            
Res. Careers 291 46,953 91 13,444 382 60,397
Coop. Clin. Res  0 0   0 0 0
Other 65 22,971 37 6030 102 29,001
Subtot., Other 356 69,924 128 19,474 484 89,398
Total Res.Grants 1,985 848,447 724 272,000 2,709 1,120,447
Research Training: FTTP   FTTP   FTTP  
Individual 155 6,010 97 3,993 252 10,003
Institutional 583 27,156 73 4,203 656 31,359
Total Training 738 33,166 169 8,196 907 41,362
R&D Contracts 137 67,904 9 10,508 146 78,412
    (51)  0 0  0 (51)
Total, Extramural   949,517   290,704   1,240,221
  FTEs:   FTEs:   FTEs:  
Intramural Res 366 166,471     366 166,471
Res. Mgmt. & Supp 243 73,151     243 73,151
Total, NIMH 609 1,189,139 0 290,704 609 1,479,843