September 6, 2018

Drs. Melvin McInnis and Sue O’Shea win NAMI Research Award

The National Alliance on Mental Illness has announced the selection of the Prechter Program’s research director, Melvin McInnis, M.D., and the director of our pluripotent stem cell research lab, K. Sue O’Shea, Ph.D., as the 2018 honorees for the NAMI Research Award. The award will be presented on November 15, 2018, in Washington, D.C., when NAMI will celebrate the two scientists’ significant achievements and contributions to a better understanding of mood disorders.

From the NAMI Press Release:

2018 Research Award

We are pleased to announce the selection of Melvin G. McInnis, M.D., FRCPsych(UK) and Sue O’Shea, Ph.D., as our 2018 honorees.

The Scientific Research Award will be presented on Thursday evening, November 15 at the International Spy Museum at L’Enfant Plaza in Southwest Washington, D.C.

We will celebrate their significant achievements and contributions to a better understanding of mood disorders, as we focus on our theme of: Inspiring Hope Through Research.

About The Honorees

 Dr. McInnis is the Thomas B and Nancy Upjohn Woodworth Professor of Bipolar Disorder and Depression and the Director of the Heinz C Prechter Bipolar Research Program at the University of Michigan and a Professor of Psychiatry. An internationally recognized expert in bipolar and depressive disorders, Dr. McInnis has authored 270 scientific publications and has had continuous federal research funding for 25 years.

He leads several dynamic and longitudinal research projects in translational research that includes an induced pluripotent stem cell and a mobile health program centered around bipolar disorder. Dr. McInnis trained in Canada, Iceland, London (UK) and Baltimore (Johns Hopkins).

He directs a comprehensive clinical consultative program in bipolar disorder at the University of Michigan Depressive Center and is active in community outreach and educational programs. He is the Associate Director for Research at the University of Michigan Depression Center.

 Dr. O’Shea is the Crosby-Kahn Collegiate Professor of Cell & Developmental Biology and Director of the laboratory for pluripotent stem cell research at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She received her B.A. from the University of Nebraska in Psychology and Spanish, followed by a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge, England. Her research has focused on the very early development of the nervous system, how development can go awry, and more recently, how induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSC) can provide a model of early human development, of developmental anomalies, and source of cells for transplantation.

During embryonic and early postnatal development, the billions of neurons and glial cells that will contribute to the brain form an intricate network required for normal brain function. Aberrant development of the cells that contribute to this network may be the basis for many neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric conditions such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorders.

According to Dr. O’Shea surprisingly little is known about the molecular histogenesis of the human nervous system, due in part from the lack of cells to study. With the ability to induce somatic cells such as skin cells to form pluripotent stem cells, it is now possible to derive stem cells from individuals who receive a psychiatric diagnosis later in life, in order to identify where neural differentiation may be impaired, with the goal of identifying better treatments for these conditions.

NAMI looks forward to paying tribute to Dr. McInnis and Dr. O’Shea at our annual Presentation and Reception.