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NIMH’s Francis McMahon, M.D., Awarded Prestigious Colvin Prize

Top scientists recognized by Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

Science Update

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is pleased to announce that Francis McMahon, M.D., has been named a recipient of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation’s 2016 Colvin Prize  for Outstanding Achievement in Mood Disorders Research. Dr. McMahon is Chief of the Human Genetics Branch at NIMH. He came to the Institute in 2002 to establish a new genetics unit within the Intramural Research Program. Dr. McMahon’s mission at NIMH has been the identification of genes that contribute to the risk for mood and anxiety disorders so that better methods of diagnosis and treatment can be developed.

In addition to Dr. McMahon, NIMH grantees Thomas Schulze, M.D., and Pamela Sklar, M.D., have been named recipients of this year’s Colvin Prize.

Thomas Schulze, M.D ., is director of the Institute of Psychiatric Phenomics and Genomics at the University of Munich and is a former NIMH fellow. His research focuses on the genotype-phenotype relationship in psychiatric disorders. Dr. Schulze coordinates a Germany-wide center grant on longitudinal psychosis research and spearheads an international study on the genetic basis of response to lithium treatment in bipolar disorder.

Pamela Sklar, M.D., is chief of the Division of Psychiatric Genomics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. As a neuroscientist, human geneticist, and clinical psychiatrist, Dr. Sklar investigates the genetic causes of psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. A major focus of her work has been to identify susceptibility genes for psychiatric diseases by applying tools developed for understanding and characterizing human sequence variation.

NIMH congratulates the accomplished professionals recognized during the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation’s annual awards dinner.

Vikram Patel, Ph.D., F. Med. Sci., and Charles Reynolds, III, M.D., were named as recipients of the Brain & Behavioral Research Foundation’s 2016 Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health

Dr. Patel is co-founder of Sangath , a non-government organization in Goa, India. Sangath has pioneered the training of lay people to deliver health care treatments and interventions to their communities. Dr. Patel has focused on the void in mental health care in developing countries, in particular, the shortage of psychologists and psychiatrists.

Dr. Reynolds  is a professor of psychiatry, neurology, behavioral and community health sciences, clinical and translational science, and geriatric psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Dr. Reynolds and his colleagues have made groundbreaking contributions to the prevention and treatment of depression in older adults. Dr. Reynolds leads an NIMH study with the Goa Medical College/India and with Sangath to develop and test a scalable model of depression prevention. 

Earl K. Miller, Ph.D. , is this year’s recipient of the Goldman-Rakic Prize  for Outstanding Achievement in Cognitive Neuroscience. Dr. Miller is Picower Professor of Neuroscience at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Building on Pat Goldman-Rakic’s groundbreaking studies, Dr. Miller’s work in primates has broken new ground in the understanding of cognition. Using innovative experimental and theoretical approaches to study the neural basis of high-level cognitive functions, his laboratory has provided insights into how categories, concepts, and rules are learned, how attention is focused, and how the brain coordinates thought and action.

John L.R. Rubenstein, M.D., Ph.D., received the 2016 Ruane Prize  for Outstanding Achievement in Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Research. Dr. Rubenstein  is Nina Ireland Distinquished Professor in Child Psychiatry at the University of California at San Francisco. Dr. Rubenstein’s genetic analyses of frontal lobe development led to identification of genes that are associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders. He has made major contributions to understanding fundamental mechanisms of forebrain development, including studies on forebrain organization, patterning centers, transcription factors that control regional specification of brain and craniofacial subdivisions, the linking of regional and cell type specification in the telencephalon, the demonstration that cortical inhibitory neurons are generated in the basal ganglia and tangentially migrate to the cortex, and the postnatal differentiation of cortical inhibitory neurons.

Michael F. Green, Ph.D., and Stephen R. Marder, M.D., are recipients of this year’s Lieber Prize  for Outstanding Achievement in Schizophrenia Research.

Dr. Green  is a Professor at the Semel Insitute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at the University of California at Los Angeles. Dr. Green’s clinical research laboratory explores the relationship between cognitive and social cognitive impairments in schizophrenia and activities of daily living. His team also explores the neural mechanisms of cognitive and social cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Dr. Marder is the Daniel X. Freedman Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. During his career, Dr. Marder has focused on pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches to improving the outcomes of serious mental illnesses, particularly schizophrenia. His clinical intervention research began with studies that evaluated strategies for reducing adverse side effects of antipsychotic medications, and studies that evaluated the interactions of psychosocial interventions and pharmacological approaches to improving the outcome of serious mental illnesses. Together with Dr. Green, his fellow Lieber Prize recipient, he led the NIMH-MATRICS initiative, which addressed key issues in the development of medications for improving cognition in schizophrenia.

William P. Horan, Ph.D., and Amanda McCleery, Ph.D., were named recipients of the Maltz Prize  for Innovative and Promising Schizophrenia Research.

Dr. Horan is Research Psychologist at UCLA’s Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences.      Dr. Horan conducts translational research to identify factors that contribute to difficulties in community integration among people with schizophrenia and other forms of psychosis, and has been a leader in the development of innovative treatments that may help patients improve the quality of their lives. More recently, he has begun applying this translational research approach to investigations of bipolar disorder and homelessness. In addition, he has focused on the development and validation of the Social Cognitive Skills Training Program for people with psychosis.

Dr. McCleery is Assistant Research Psychologist at UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. Dr. McCleery’s research focuses on cognitive predictors of functional outcome in schizophrenia and related conditions. Her recent work uses EEG techniques in conjunction with performance-based measures to better understand the nature of the relationships between early-stage information processing, higher-order cognition, and community functioning across phases of illness in schizophrenia. 

Learn more about the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation  and the 29th Annual International Awards Dinner.