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November 10, 2016

VA researchers honored for work on psychiatric disorders

Four VA researchers received 2016 Outstanding Achievement Prizes for their work in neuroscience and psychiatric research from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation. A panel of leading experts in brain and behavior research selected the winners. The award ceremony took place at the foundation's 29th Annual National Awards Dinner in October.

The Lieber Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Schizophrenia Research

Michael F. Green, Ph.D., Professor, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA; Director VA Research Enhancement Award Program (REAP) on Enhancing Community Integration for Homeless Veterans; and Director Treatment Unit, VA VISN 22 Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC).

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. Green is a leading researcher in the evaluation of social cognitive retraining and novel pharmacological interventions to improve cognitive impairments. His laboratory also studies the determinants of community integration for homeless Veterans, many of whom have psychotic disorders. His identification of the importance of cognition in schizophrenia launched the national Measurement and Treatment Research to Improve Cognition in Schizophrenia (MATRICS) effort, and stimulated novel and innovative treatments for cognitive dysfunction.

Michael F. Green, Ph.D. Michael F. Green, Ph.D.

Stephen R. Marder, M.D., Daniel X. Freedman Professor of Psychiatry, Vice Chair for Education in Psychiatry and Director, Section on Psychosis, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA; Director VA Desert Pacific MIRECC; NARSAD Distinguished Investigator 2011.

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.

Stephen R. Marder, M.D. Stephen R. Marder, M.D.

The Maltz Prize for Innovative & Promising Schizophrenia Research

William P. Horan, Ph.D., Research Psychologist, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences University of California, Los Angles; Clinical Research Psychologist, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System; Faculty VISN 22 MIRECC; NARSAD Young Investigator 2008 and 2004.

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. The goal of this research is to develop new treatments that enable people with psychosis to live independently, pursue personally meaningful vocational and educational goals, and develop more satisfying social networks in the community. His work has led to a deeper understanding of the impairments in motivation and social behaviors that affect the lives of many people with schizophrenia, previously viewed by most clinicians as untreatable, and led to a new sense of optimism that these problems can be addressed in the clinic

William P. Horan, Ph.D.William P. Horan, Ph.D.

Amanda McCleery, Ph.D., Assistant Research Psychologist, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System VISN 22 MIRECC; NARSAD Young Investigator 2015.

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. Her work is also informed by developmental psychopathology in order to gain a nuanced understanding of the trajectory of cognition over the course of illness to identify potential critical periods and targets for intervention, as well as possible mechanisms of change.

Amanda McCleery, Ph.D.Amanda McCleery, Ph.D.

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