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Brain & Behavior Research Foundation Honors Piven and Other Scientists for Outstanding Achievements in Psychiatric Research

Excerpt from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation Press Release; October 30, 2018:

The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, the world’s largest private funder of mental health research grants, honored ten scientists with its 2018 Outstanding Achievement Prizes and awarded the Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health at its International Awards Dinner on Friday, October 26, at the Pierre in New York City. The evening celebrated the power of neuroscience, psychiatric research and humanitarian efforts to change the lives of people who are living with mental illness.  The ten scientists who are affiliated with universities in the United States, France and Canada were recognized for their extraordinary achievements in research on schizophrenia, mood disorders, child and adolescent psychiatry, and cognitive neuroscience.


Joseph Piven, MD, director of the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities (CIDD), received the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation’s prestigious Ruane Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Research. The award includes a $50,000 prize, which Piven will share with co-recipient Ami Klin, PhD, director of the Marcus Autism Center in Atlanta.  The award was initiated in 2000 by philanthropists Joy and William Ruane to recognize important advances in understanding and treating early-onset brain and behavior disorders. Read more about the awards dinner here.


Piven is the Thomas E. Castelloe Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics and director of the UNC Autism Research Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Since 2002 he has led an NIH Autism Center of Excellence at UNC Chapel Hill, a program that supports large-scale research aimed at elucidating our understanding of autism spectrum disorder.


He is an expert on the causes and mechanisms underlying neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism. His current primary focus is in leading the multi-center ‘Infant Brain Imaging Study (IBIS)’ on brain and behavior development in infants at high risk for later development of autism.


Piven, who has been at Carolina since 1999, received his medical degree from the University of Maryland and completed residencies in general and child and adolescent psychiatry at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. He completed a John Merck Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship in Psychiatric Genetics at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. 


Last year, three papers on which Piven was senior author, were in the top 10 research papers of 2017, according to the autism advocacy group Autism Speaks.


The Honorary Pardes Humanitarian Prize was presented to Bob and the late Suzanne Wright, the founders of Autism Speaks, for their unparalleled leadership in advancing autism research and increasing understanding and acceptance of people with autism spectrum disorder.  The Pardes Prize was established in 2014, and is awarded annually to recognize individuals or organizations that are making a profound and lasting impact in advancing the understanding of mental health and improving the lives of people with mental illness.  It focuses public attention on the burden mental illness places on individuals and society, and the urgent need to expand mental health services globally.   




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