Psychiatry Chair Receives Mental Health Research Award
Charles B. Nemeroff, M.D., Ph.D., the Leonard M. Miller Professor and Chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Director of the Center on Aging, who has deep ties to the state of North Carolina, is the recipient of one of the Psychiatric Foundation of North Carolina’s top honors for his many years of cutting-edge psychiatry research.
Presented September 21 at the North Carolina Psychiatric Association’s Annual Meeting and Scientific Session, the V. Sagar Sethi, M.D., Mental Health Research Award recognizes Nemeroff for his research that has improved the understanding of the causes and pathogenesis of depression.
“When I received notice of the award, I was particularly thrilled because I attended medical school at the University of North Carolina, received residency training in North Carolina and was a faculty member at Duke University,” Nemeroff said. “This is a very special award because it is for an individual who has made important research contributions of both a basic and clinical nature that have resulted in advances in translational medicine in psychiatry.”
As part of the award, Nemeroff was invited to present a lecture, “Prediction of Disease Vulnerability and Treatment Response in Mood Disorders: Personalized Medicine in Psychiatry,” in which he discussed the progress of genetic subtyping to significantly improve matching patients with optimal treatment methods.
“We have identified genes in patients with depression and bipolar disorder that confer risk for developing these disorders, particularly in those with early life trauma such as child abuse or neglect,” Nemeroff said. “In addition, we are identifying genes that predict both side-effect burden and treatment response in patients with mood disorders.”
Nemeroff’s basic science research concentrates on the biological basis of the major neuropsychiatric disorders, including affective disorders, schizophrenia, and anxiety disorders, and his clinical research focuses on the use of genetic, neuroendocrine, neuroimaging and neurochemical methods to comprehensively understand the pathophysiology of depression. In recent years he has uncovered the neurobiological mechanisms that mediate the increased risk for depression in victims of child abuse. He also has contributed to seminal findings in the burgeoning area of research concerning the relationship of depression to cardiovascular disease.
Nemeroff, who also received his doctorate degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, joined the Miller School in 2009 to chair the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and subsequently was named Director of the Center on Aging. Since then, he has led the department’s meteoric rise in research, education, faculty and researcher recruitment, and national rankings. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including “Psychiatry Chair of the Year” for his contributions to the field, dedication to and innovations in patient care, and commitment to research and education.
A strong advocate for suicide prevention, Nemeroff has led the Miami-Dade County “Out of the Darkness” suicide awareness walk for the past three years, and is an active member of the Board of Directors of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
The V. Sagar Sethi, M.D., Mental Research Award was created with an endowment from Sethi, a practicing psychiatrist in Charlotte, whose vision is to “honor scientists for significant contributions to basic research in the neurosciences, psychology, or pharmacology at a molecular, cellular or behavioral level.”