Dr. Thomas R. Insel and Future Scientists Honored at Child Mind Institute Symposium
(L-R) Dr. Harold Koplewicz & Dr. Thomas R. Insel
The Child Mind Institute presented On the Shoulders of Giants at the New York Academy of Medicine this fall. The annual symposium honored Dr. Thomas R. Insel of the National Institute of Mental Health as the recipient of the 2015 Child Mind Institute Distinguished Scientist Award. The event celebrated his influential and boldly progressive leadership, which has contributed to a revolution in understanding the brain and its function in health and disease. Insel, who began with the National Institute of Mental Health in 2002, recently announced he will be resigning from his position and joining the Google Life Sciences team at Alphabet.
“As a research scientist, Dr. Insel has deepened our knowledge of neurochemistry and behavior, both broadly and in his study of scientific disorders,” said Founding President of Child Mind Institute Dr. Harold Koplewicz. “At NIMH, he helped shape scientific policy, laying the foundation for neurobiological research and transforming how we approach the diagnosis and treatment for mental disorders,” he said. When he accepted his award, Insel presented Transforming Services Through Sciences, a presentationthat highlighted recent advances that can transform how diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders is approached.
To further celebrate Insel, two researchers who were heavily influenced by his work made presentations. Dr. Conor Liston, an assistant professor of neuroscience and psychiatry at the Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute and the Department of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College, presented Biomarkers for Diagnosing Depression. The thorough lecture discussed how large neuroimaging datasets can be used to identify types of depression and provide new frameworks for diagnosing mental illness. Following Liston, Dr. Nim Tottenham presented The Impact of Care Giving on Early Brain Development which explored how the amygdala-prefrontal cortex develops throughout childhood and adolescence and how deprivation of care giving early in life is associated with increased risk of atypical development of this circuitry.
It was also a special day for five outstanding high school students who were selected as this years Child Mind Institute Rising Scientists. The recipients, all young women from the New York metro area, were awarded $1000 each in college scholarship. Their names are Remi Golden, George W. Hewlett High School, Rachel Marshal, John F. Kennedy High School (Bellmore, NY), Morgan Robins, Hewitt School, Emily Ryeom, The Chapin School and Anna Vaynrub, Plainview Old Bethpage JFK High School (Plainview, NY). “Everything derives from science,” said Morgan Robbins when asked why she loves science. A multi-talented athlete, Robbins said much of her interest in science is rooted in athletics, “…I like observing the psychological aspects and how they correspond with the physical components of activity.”
The lecture topics carried to the reception, where doctors and clinicians conversed further about the earlier presentations. “On the Shoulders of Giants celebrates two things. It celebrates scientific achievement and more importantly generative behavior- the generosity scientists show to other scientists,” said Dr. Koplewicz, “the speakers we had to today were not only extraordinary in their presentations, but extraordinary in their optimism for what the future holds for the understanding of brain science and hopefully that will translate into better diagnosis, better treatment, and hopefully prevention.”#