January 2004- American College of Neuropsychopharmacology- Volume 10 No. 1 

        2003 ACNP Honorific Awards 

Joseph Coyle, Chair
Honorific Awards Committee

During the 2003 President's Plenary Session the ACNP announced a full complement of honorific awards.

The Daniel H. Efron Award is presented to an individual who has made outstanding basic research contributions to Neuropsychopharmacology. This year's winner was David Bredt, M.D., Ph.D., University of California, San Francisco. David Bredt has expanded the boundaries of neurotransmitter characteristics through his path-breaking findings of the diffusible signaling molecule, nitric oxide, and how glutamatergic AMPA receptors are regulated.

Eva Killam
Daniel H. Efron Award for outstanding basic research contributions presented to David Bredt, M.D., Ph.D.

The Joel Elkes Award for outstanding clinical contributions to psychopharmacology was awarded to Husseini Manji, M.D., National Institute of Mental Health. Husseini Manji provides a stellar example of translational research in psychiatric disorders as he has probed basic mechanisms of the elusive action of mood stabilizers and tested these hypotheses in clinical studies.

Eva Killam
Joel Elkes Award for outstanding clinical contributions to psychopharmacology awarded to Husseini Manji, M.D.


The Paul Hoch Distinguished Service Award was given this year to Thomas A. Ban, M.D., an active contributor to the Archives project and an emeritus member of the ACNP History Committee. Tom Ban is a much-loved ACNP member who has given tirelessly of his time and energy to document the history of the College as well as the field of Neuropsychopharmacology.

Eva Killam
Paul Hoch Distinguished Service Award given to Thomas A. Ban, M.D.

The second annual ACNP Media Award, recognizing a journalist who has made an important contribution to neuropsychopharmacology by educating the general public, was awarded to Tim McCann. Mr. McCann wrote and directed an independent film called Revolution #9. This film accurately and honestly portrays schizophrenia and its symptoms, highlights the impediments to care posed by the illness and our systems of care, and stresses the important role that medication plays in the treatment of serious mental illness.

Eva Killam
ACNP Media Award presented to Mr. Tim McCann

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        New Julius Axelrod Mentorship Award

Council approved a recommendation to establish a new honorific award, the Julius Axelrod Mentorship Award. Julius Axelrod joined the ACNP in 1961 and is a Founding Member of the College. He received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1970. In his illustrious career, he served as a mentor to many young scientists who later became distinguished researchers in their own right.

This Award may be presented annually to an ACNP member who has made an outstanding contribution to neuropsychopharmacology by mentoring and developing young scientists into leaders in the field. The Award consists of a monetary award and a plaque to be given during the President's Plenary Session. The Award Winner must attend the Annual Meeting.

This winner of the Axelrod Mentorship Award will be selected from nominees submitted to the Honorific Awards Committee. Any scientist may nominate an ACNP member for this award by submitting the following to the Awards Committee:

1. A nominating letter no more than three pages in length. This letter should describe the contributions of the candidate to the people he/she has mentored.

2. A representative list of people who have been mentored by the candidate, their job titles, and the major contributions they have made to the field.

3. Letters of support from no more than three people who have been mentored by the candidate. These letters should provide specific information regarding the contributions of the candidate to the person mentored.

4. The curriculum vitae of the candidate.

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        New Deadlines and New Rules for Annual Meeting Proposals and Abstracts

Archival Abstracts: Beginning this year the ACNP Annual Meeting Abstracts will be published in a supplement to Neuropsychopharmacology. Therefore, in order to allow the necessary time for review of poster abstracts and to meet the publishers' deadlines, all the due dates for submission of proposals and abstracts are earlier this year.

Posters: The online site for submitting abstracts will open in May and the deadline for Poster Abstracts will be Monday, August 16, 2004. Reminder: ACNP Scientific members (excluding associate and administrative) may sponsor ONE poster. A member may also present ONE poster. If a member does not sponsor a poster, then he/she may present two posters.

ACNP Scientific members (excluding associate and administrative) only have ONE invitation to the Annual Meeting. A poster presenter MUST be invited AND have an ACNP member sponsor their poster. It does not have to be the same ACNP member. If you agree to sponsor a poster, please remember to either invite that individual to the meeting as your guest or advise him/her that you already have invited someone else and he/she will need to secure an invitation from another ACNP member.

A member may invite someone to the meeting even if the member is not attending the meeting. Please send the invited guest's information to the ACNP in writing.

Panel and Study Group Proposals: The call for proposals will be sent in February. The proposals will be due in early May. Note: An ACNP member must be the chair of the proposed session.

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        Council Approves Posting Minutes on ACNP Website

In its December meetings Council approved a new policy to help members stay fully informed about Council actions. Minutes of Council meetings will be posted in the Members Only area of the ACNP Website. To access this area of the Website members must have established a user name and password. If you have not yet done that you may call the Secretariat at (615) 322-2075 or e-mail, and a staff member will assist you. If you already have your user name and password you may access the Council minutes by logging on to the ACNP Website and then logging into the "Members Only" area

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        Task Force on SSRI's and Suicide Issues a Preliminary Report

ACNP held a briefing for news media, Capitol Hill staffers and mental health groups on January 21, 2004 in Washington, DC to release the executive summary of a preliminary ACNP task force report on SSRIs and suicidal behavior in youth. J. John Mann, Graham Emslie, Joseph Coyle and Ellen Frank spoke at the briefing. The event was well attended by members of the news media and generated widespread news coverage including next-day stories in the New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Newsday, WebMD, and Dallas Morning News.

ACNP established the task force in the fall of 2003 after regulatory agencies in the United States and United Kingdom voiced concerns about the possibility that treatment of depression in children and adolescents with SSRIs may increase the risk for suicide. The FDA is convening an advisory committee hearing to review the issue on Feb. 2, 2004.

At the briefing, members of the ACNP task force presented preliminary conclusions that SSRI antidepressants do not increase the risk of suicidal thinking or suicide attempts in youth and that several SSRIs have been shown to be effective for treating depression in this population. The task force emphasized that its findings and recommendations are preliminary, and noted that although ACNP reviewed available data from clinical trials, epidemiology and autopsy studies, it did not have access to a substantial amount of data available to the FDA or to pharmaceutical companies.

To view the executive summary of the preliminary task force report click here.

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        Report from Washington

Frankie Trull

The second session of the 108th Congress began on January 20, 2004 and the first order of business was completion of the FY2004 omnibus appropriations bill that failed to pass the Senate in December. The Senate approved the bill on January 22 by a vote of 65 to 28.

The FY2004 omnibus spending measure includes a $1 billion increase (3.7%) for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Although this increase reflects the higher Senate allocated number, it will be effectively reduced by: 1) an across-the-board 0.59% reduction; 2) a provision requiring that 2.2% of NIH's budget be used for program evaluations; and 3) a $150 million transfer for the Global HIV/AIDS fund. After intensive lobbying by therapeutic cloning advocates, including ACNP members, language to prevent the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) from issuing patents on human organisms was ameliorated by accompanying report language stating the provision would not interfere with stem cell research. Under the agreement, the provision will ban patents for genetically engineered human embryos, fetuses and human beings, but will not affect patents on genes, cells, tissue and other biological products.

In the State of the Union speech, the president outlined his priorities for 2004. President Bush reiterated his support for Social Security reform and called for an end to "frivolous" medical malpractice lawsuits. While he addressed the issue of health insurance, saying catastrophic health coverage premiums should be deductible for those with a savings account program, there was little mention of health research. Biomedical research advocates have been concerned that increases to NIH will be minimal again this year. Letters advocating an increase in the health care portion of the budget have been sent to Congress and President Bush in advance of the release of the budget next month. ACNP and over 230 organizations signed this letter.

NIH Conflict of Interest Hearing

Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) who chairs the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS & Education, the subcommittee with jurisdiction over NIH funding, held a hearing January 22 on "Avoiding Conflicts of Interest at the National Institutes of Health." The hearing was initiated, in part, as a result of allegations in a December article published in the Los Angeles Times that senior NIH officials received millions of unreported dollars in consulting contracts from pharmaceutical and biomedical companies that had dealings with the agency. Sen. Specter announced in his opening statement at the Senate hearing that while the issue of targeting specific "controversial" grants for defunding remains a concern, this hearing would focus on the recent reports of conflict of interest involving NIH researchers. He continued his statement saying that among his concerns is that with the significant increases NIH has received in the past, opponents of future increases will point to this controversy. He said it is an issue of integrity.

In his testimony, Dr. Zerhouni announced Bruce Alberts, Ph.D., president of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and Norman R. Augustine, Chairman of the Executive Committee of Lockheed Martin, would co-chair a new NIH Blue Ribbon Panel on Conflict of Interest Policies. This panel, a working group of the Advisory Committee to the Director, was established to review existing guidelines for NIH scientists involved in external consulting.

The committee will wait for the panel's report before it makes any final decisions regarding legislative changes, but it appears likely the rules at NIH regarding conflict of interest and disclosure of consulting arrangements with outside companies will be strengthened during this session of congress.

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        New Officers and Council Members for 2004

Carol A. Tamminga, M.D., UT Southwestern Medical School was awarded a Waterman pen as the new signatory of the College during the ACNP business meeting in San Juan on December 10, 2003. Dr. Tamminga outlined her priorities for 2004, starting with her desire to emphasize pathophysiology in mental illness. She also intends to work closely with the newly formed Public Information Committee, chaired by Ellen Frank, as the ACNP expands its efforts to provide important information and education to the media and to the public. She plans to assign a Task Force to make recommendations to Council about the future direction of the Journal, and acting upon a Council recommendation she plans to appoint a group to work with Council in a strategic planning session this year.

Eva Killam
Carol Tamminga and Dennis Charney

Daniel R. Weinberger, M.D., National Institute of Mental Health, assumed the role of President-Elect. Stepping into their new roles as members of Council were William T. Carpenter, Jr., M.D., Director, MPRC, University of Maryland and Raquel E. Gur, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Neuropsychiatry, University of Pennsylvania.

Daniel R. Weinberger
William T. Carpenter
Raquel E. Gur


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        Past Presidents Luncheon


Eva Killam

Seated (left to right): Joseph Coyle, Dennis Charney, Charles Nemeroff, Alan Schatzberg
Standing (left to right): Oakley Ray, Steven Paul, Charles O’Brien, Herbert Meltzer, Leonard Cook, Roger Meyer, Ronnie Wilkins, Benjamin Bunney, William Bunney, Irwin Kopin

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        ACNP New Members/Promotions

The College elected 29 new members and 14 associate members during the 2003 Annual Meeting. There were also 14 members who were promoted to fellow, 3 fellows promoted to life fellow and two foreign corresponding fellows elected to the College.

New Members (29) Associate Members (14)

Nicholas Barden
Dan German Blazer II
David Brent
William A. Carlezon, Jr.
Marc Caron
Cameron Carter
Marie-Francoise Chesselet
Anna Rose Childress
Stephen Dager
Wayne Drevets
Monique Ernst
Christian Felder
Judith Ford
John H. Gilmore, Jr.
Laurence Greenhill
Philip D. Harvey
Harry L. June
Pat Levitt
Sarah Hollingsworth-Lisanby
Bertha Madras
Kalpana Merchant
Kathleen Merikangas
Ralph Nixon
Peg Nopoulos
Steve Potkin
Allan Reiss
Mary Sano
Elliot Stein
Mark von Zastrow

Caleb Adler
Gregory Berns
Hilary Blumberg
Yue Chen
Annette Fleckenstein
Steven Garlow
David Oslin
Gregory J. Quirk
J. Daniel Ragland
James Ritchie, Jr.
Amelia Russo-Neustadt
Steve Siegel
Dan Stein
Val Watts

Promotions (14)
Member to Fellow
Emil Coccaro
Michael Davidson
Stephen I. Deutsch
Harriet de Wit
Alan Gelenberg
Steven Hyman
Daniel Javitt
Husseini Manji
Adolf Pfefferbaum
Stanley Rapoport
Robert Schwarcz
Murray B. Stein
Freidbert Weiss
Elizabeth Young
Foreign Corresponding Fellows (2)
Manfred Ackenheil
Aleksander A. Mathé


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        2003 ACNP Travel Awardees

A total of 46 travel awardees attended the 2003 ACNP Annual Meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico. This total included four Aventis Travel Awardees. Five NIMH Minority Travel Awardees, twelve Bristol-Myers Squibb Travel Awardees, nine ACNP Memorial Travel Awards, seven Travel Awardees from the APA Program for Minority Research Training in Psychiatry, one GlaxoSmithKline Fellow, one Pharmacia Minority Summer Fellow, three Anxiety Disorders Association of America Travel Awardees, and four Eli Lilly Minority Faculty Awardees.

Eva Killam
Front Row (Sitting) Kisha James,Warachal Faison, Krista McFarland, Gabriel Vargas, Cohen Hagit, Timothy Fong, Olusola Aijlore, Tanya Alim
2nd row (Standing)
Ruth Lanius,Kirti Saxena, Maureen Hahn, Monica Marcus, Victor Tirado, Victor Perez Sola, Hilary Blumberg, Andrew Holmes, Johannes Tauscher, Dennis Charney, Sanjay Mathew, Yogesh Dwivedi, Marco Giorgetti, Deborah Flores, Edward Clayton, Kebreten Manaye
3rd row (Standing)
Karleyton Evans, Vaibhav Diwadkar, Konasale Prasad, Yekeen Aderibigbe, Syed A. Bokhari, Gonzalo Torres, Fang Liu, Paul Ardayfio, Purificacion Marquez, Mark Cheltenham, Francesca Bosetti, William Cho

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        Lilly Travel Awardees

Susan E. Swedo
2003 Chair, Education and Training Committee

The Education & Training Committee, in collaboration with the NIMH Intramural Research Program, has arranged for the Eli Lilly travel awardees to receive formal training in the writing of grant applications through the NIH grants-writing course. The two-part course will be provided to the 2003 awardees: Yekeen Aderibigbe (Morehouse School of Medicine), Tanya Alim (Howard University), Letitia Pinson (Drew University) and Zia Wahid (Meharry Medical College.) In the first session, the awardees will learn how to prepare a grant application and will be encouraged to write an application for funding a training award or research project. Their applications will then be reviewed and "scored" at the second session. The grants-writing course will meet the needs expressed by the young investigators to have more "protected" research time. A successful grant application would allow them to pursue an independent research project, or concentrate on research training.

The Eli Lilly travel awardees also expressed interest in receiving formal training in clinical neuroscience, as many are responsible for teaching a variety of courses in neuropsychiatry. The ACNP Education and Training Committee is committed to meeting this need, and is investigating the possibility of offering a web-based course through the NIH Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences. Ideally, a second course would be offered in psychopharmacology, and both courses would be open to all ACNP travel awardees.

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