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News Brief: O'Donovan, Owen Lead 2012 BBRF Honorees

24 October 2012. On Friday, 26 October 2012, the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation (BBRF), will honor the recipients of their 2012 Outstanding Achievement Prizes at the annual national awards dinner to be held at the Pierre Hotel in New York City. This year’s Lieber Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Schizophrenia Research has been awarded to longtime collaborators Michael O’Donovan, M.D., Ph.D., and Michael J. Owen, M.D., Ph.D., of Cardiff University, United Kingdom.

Their research is well known to readers of SRF, and in a press release, BBRF recognizes O'Donovan and Owen for their work in molecular genetics and genetic epidemiology, particularly in the study of the relationship between schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

The Sidney R. Baer, Jr. Prize for Schizophrenia Research is selected by the Lieber Prize recipient, and O'Donovan and Owen have selected James T. R. Walters, M.D., Ph.D., of Cardiff University.

The Colvin Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Mood Disorders Research will be shared by Eduard Vieta, Ph.D., University of Barcelona, Spain, honored for his contribution to both psychopharmacologic and psychotherapeutic approaches to bipolar disorder, and Karen Dineen Wagner, M.D., Ph.D., University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, for her work on the assessment and treatment of childhood mood disorders, particularly bipolar disorder.

The Ruane Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Child and Adolescent Research will also recognize two researchers: Matthew State, M.D., Ph.D., of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, for his work identifying genetic factors underlying autism, and Daniel Geschwind, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of California, Los Angeles, for his work on the neurobiology of autism, but also his basic research on the genetic basis of human cognition.

The Goldman-Rakic Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Cognitive Neuroscience will be awarded to Larry R. Squire, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego, for his research aimed at understanding the molecular mechanisms of memory.

The fifth annual Productive Lives Awards for extraordinary contributions to therapy and recovery from mental illness will be shared by the Honorable Judge Steven Leifman, Miami-Dade County Court Criminal Division, Florida, who led a study of Florida’s approach to criminal justice and mental health that helped transform Florida’s mental health system, and Alice Medalia, Ph.D., Columbia University Medical Center, for her development of the Neuropsychological & Educational Approach to Remediation (NEAR) model to help people with mental illness improve their skills in attention, memory, processing speed, and problem solving.

Our congratulations go out to these awardees, as does our gratitude to BBRF for recognizing the efforts of scientists trying to understand and provide better treatments for mental illness.—Hakon Heimer.

Comments on News and Primary Papers
Comment by:  Irving Gottesman, SRF Advisor
Submitted 25 October 2012
Posted 26 October 2012

Once again, the BBRF Awards this year illustrate Louis Pasteur's aphorism to the effect that "science knows no nation," and that collaboration rather than competition is the key to advancing knowledge about the causes and treatments of mental diseases.

View all comments by Irving Gottesman