On December 4, 2017, the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) honored McLean Hospital’s Diego A. Pizzagalli, PhD, with the 2017 Joel Elkes Research Award.
The ACNP presents this annual award in recognition of a scientist’s outstanding clinical contribution to neuropsychopharmacology. The contribution may be based on a single discovery or a cumulative body of work.
Pizzagalli, who is a founding director of McLean’s Center for Depression, Anxiety and Stress Research, the director of the McLean Imaging Center, and the director of the hospital’s Laboratory for Translational and Affective Neuroscience, is an internationally known expert on the neurobiology of depression and has made major contributions toward the identification of biomarkers of depression and treatment response. The main goals of his research are to improve our understanding of the psychological, environmental, and neurobiological factors associated with mood disorders, particularly major depression. To this end, he integrates behavioral, electrophysiological, neuroimaging, and more recently, molecular genetics approaches to investigate three important endophenotypes of depression: anhedonia (loss of pleasure), increased stress sensitivity, and negative processing biases.
In addition to his own accomplishments in research, Dr. Pizzagalli, who is also a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, has trained a generation of clinical and translational researchers, many of whom are now ACNP members and leading clinical researchers. Many of his former mentees now hold academic positions in leading academic research institutions across the country and have themselves become key leaders in the field of clinical neuroscience. In recognition of his outstanding teaching, he has received mentoring awards from McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Pizzagalli has served on many national advisory bodies, including the Institute of Medicine, NIH Foundation, and NIMH Council Workgroup. He is also on the editorial boards of 11 international journals and has published over 170 articles and chapters.
The ACNP, founded in 1961, is a professional organization of more than 1,000 leading scientists, including four Nobel Laureates. The mission of ACNP is to further research and education in neuropsychopharmacology and related fields.