Laura Huckins, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry, has been awarded the 2023 International Society of Psychiatric Genetics (ISPG) Theodore Reich Early Career Award.
Theodore (Ted) Reich (1938 – 2003) was the first president of ISPG and was both an outstanding researcher and mentor to young scientists. The award is made for published work on psychiatric genetics that is of exceptional merit to candidates who have finished their training within the last 10 years in the year of their nomination.
Huckins was selected for the award based on her published work describing the genetic underpinnings of eating disorders and PTSD as well as for her service to the psychiatric genetics community.
The award will be presented to Huckins on October 13, 2023 at the 2023 World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics Awards Ceremony in Montreal, Canada. Huckins has been invited to speak during the ceremony. She will discuss her work describing the relative roles of genetics and environment in the etiology of psychiatric disorders, in particular the roles of stress and trauma in shaping brain gene expression. She will also discuss her hopes and plans for more equitable research and academic culture.
Huckins received her master’s degree in BioEngineering from Imperial College London in 2011, and her PhD in Molecular Biology and Psychiatric Genetics from the University of Cambridge in 2015.
Her research focuses primarily on studying psychiatric disorders, as well as development and application of multi-omic methods to interpret the functional consequences of GWAS variants and to study how genetics and environment interact. Her lab focuses particularly on eating disorders and PTSD; to this end, she is co-chair of the PGC Eating Disorders working group.
Huckins' work is funded by the Klarman Family Foundation, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.