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NIMH Scientists Honored with 2013 Brain & Behavior Research Foundation Awards

Science Update

Five National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) scientists--one intramural scientist and four extramural grantees--were honored by the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation on Friday, October 25, 2013, for their “outstanding research leadership and contributions to mental health research.”

The 2013 Outstanding Achievement Prizewinners include:

Boris Birmaher, M.D., at University of Pittsburgh, for pharmacological and biological studies of children and adolescents with mood and anxiety disorders. Dr. Birmaher has been a pioneer in the description of the course and treatment of childhood-onset bipolar disorder.

Marc G. Caron, Ph.D., at Duke University Medical Center, for his animal model studies that shed light on how alterations in brain chemical messengers, such as dopamine and serotonin, contributes to brain disorders such as schizophrenia and depression. Dr. Caron’s research helped identify targets for antipsychotic medications.

Karl Deisseroth, M.D., Ph.D., at Stanford University, for his development of revolutionary technologies for learning about brain function. One tool — optogenetics — enables neuroscientists to peer into mechanisms in the brain that give rise to depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, autism, and other brain and behavior disorders. Another tool — CLARITY — provides researchers the opportunity to image a whole, intact brain in three dimensions and obtain a virtually transparent view of its inner structure.

Kafui Dzirasa, M.D., Ph.D., at Duke University Medical Center, for his measurements of electrical activity of neurons in animal models of brain disorders such as attention deficit disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar depression, and addiction. Dr. Dzirasa’s aim is to determine how changes in gene function lead to deficits in brain circuitry associated with these disorders.

Jay N. Giedd, M.D., chief of the Unit on Brain Imaging in the Child Psychiatry Branch at NIMH, for his imaging studies on why so many neuropsychiatric disorders emerge during adolescence. Dr. Giedd’s research findings have influenced not only the scientific realm but also that of education, the judicial system, and public policy.

Congratulations to all award recipients!