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Three NIMH Grantees Receive White House Award

Science Update

Three NIMH grantees were among the 67 recipients of Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering (PECASE) for 2007:

  • Thomas A. Blanpied, Ph.D., University of Maryland—Nominated by NIMH for the 2007 PECASE, Dr. Blanpied was recognized for research examining the dynamic protein organization underlying the function and plasticity of individual connections between brain neurons at high resolution in living cells, as well as for his mentorship of graduate and undergraduate students.
  • Jeremy R. Gray, Ph.D., Yale University— Nominated by the National Science Foundation, Dr. Gray received past NIMH support for a large, innovative brain imaging study on how induced emotional states interact with higher cognition, and how these relationships differ from person to person. Such research may help to identify potential vulnerabilities for mental illness. Building on this research, his current work seeks to better understand individual differences in self-control using brain imaging and molecular genetics, focusing on emotion-thought interactions in addiction and behavior.
  • Francis S. Lee, M.D., Ph.D., Cornell University—Nominated by the National Institute on Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Dr. Lee received a training grant from NIMH supporting his research on sorting and trafficking of Trk receptors, which play a key role in the body’s response to neurotrophins. Neurotrophins are proteins involved in proper functioning of the nervous system. Changes in neurotrophin levels are believed to be related to neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, and mental disorders such as depression and substance abuse.

Established in 1996, the PECASE is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers who are beginning their independent research careers. Awards are given annually and provide up to five years of research funding. This year’s honorees received their awards at a White House ceremony on December 19, 2008.

Nine Federal departments and agencies participate in the PECASE program:

  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Commerce
  • Department of Defense
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Energy
  • Department of Health and Human Services: National Institutes of Health
  • Department of Veterans Affairs
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • National Science Foundation