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High honors for psychiatric research

Yale Medicine Magazine, 1998 - Fall


Mental health awards recognize cutting-edge work.

Nine School of Medicine researchers have been awarded grants from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD). Two of the researchers are among 16 scientists around the world to receive the 1998 Distinguished Investigators Award, NARSAD’s highest honor. Seven of the Yale researchers are among 130 scientists worldwide to receive the 1998 Young Investigators Award from NARSAD. The non-profit organization, based in Great Neck, N.Y., funds research into the causes and potential treatments of mental illness.

George R. Heninger, M.D., professor of psychiatry, and Robert H. Roth Jr., Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and pharmacology, were awarded the 1998 Distinguished Investigators Award, which supports their work with $100,000 for one year. Dr. Heninger’s research aims to identify the immune abnormalities in some patients with schizophrenia. Dr. Roth is studying the psychiatric symptoms associated with marijuana abuse.

Additionally, NARSAD announced in May that Gerald A. Conway and his wife Martine, trustees for The Fairfax Foundation, have pledged to support NARSAD and Yale with a cumulative gift totaling $30,000. The funds are to be applied toward the support of a 1999 Young Investigator conducting research at the School of Medicine.

Recipients of the 1998 Young Investigators Award will receive $30,000 for two years to help support their research. The winners and their research projects are:

John P. Alsobrook, Ph.D., associate research scientist in the Child Study Center, will analyze genes that may be associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Noboru Hiroi, Ph.D., associate research scientist in psychiatry, will study ways of reducing the side effects of drugs used to improve the voluntary motor skills of schizophrenic patients.

Sheena Josselyn, Ph.D., postdoctoral associate in psychiatry, will investigate the neural basis of inhibition of fear and/or anxiety.

Karen Y. Mechanic, M.D., postgraduate year IV resident in psychiatry, will examine the relationship between cocaine dependence and depression.

Marc N. Potenza, M.D. ’94, Ph.D. ’93, postgraduate year IV resident in psychiatry, will study the link between the response to stress and the onset of mental illness.

Alexander A. Stevens, Ph.D., postdoctoral associate in diagnosticradiology, will map areas of the brain responsible for language to gain a better understanding of how schizophrenia affects language processing.

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