McLean Researchers Elected to 2022 ACNP Leadership Roles

American College of Neuropsychopharmacology has announced election results

June 15, 2021

Kerry J. Ressler, MD, PhD, has been elected as the next president-elect of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP), and Bill Carlezon, PhD, has been elected as an ACNP council member. Ressler and Carlezon will commence their new ACNP roles in 2022.

Founded in 1961, the ACNP is an international organization of leading brain scientists. Its membership is drawn from scientists in diverse subfields of neuroscience.

Research and education are the primary focuses of the college.

For research, its goals are to offer investigators the opportunity for cross-disciplinary communication and promote the application of various neuroscientific disciplines to the study of all forms of mental illness and their treatment. For education, it aims to encourage young scientists to enter research careers in neuropsychopharmacology and develop and provide information about psychiatric disorders and treatment.

The ACNP also actively promotes and recognizes principles of fairness, equity, and social justice.

Ressler said that he was “honored and humbled” to be nominated and selected as the incoming ACNP president. He also expressed his excitement about having a unique opportunity to contribute toward advancing brain disorder treatment.

Drs. Bill Carlezon and Kerry Ressler in a science lab

Carlezon and Ressler will begin their ACNP roles in 2022

“ACNP’s core purpose is to help reduce human suffering by developing and spreading knowledge about the brain and the biology, prevention, and treatment of brain disorders,” said Ressler. “I wish to aid this mission by promoting excellence in scientific research, diversity, and education across disorders of thought, emotion, and behavior.”

Ressler added, “We are now at an inflection point, where decades of exponential progress in neuroscience is being integrated with human genetics, digital phenotyping, and big data to derive new, effective therapeutics based on our understanding of the brain. ACNP will be critical in its leadership, through academic, governmental, industry, and regulatory relationships, to support these new opportunities.”

At McLean Hospital, Ressler is the chief scientific officer and chief of the Division of Depression and Anxiety Disorders. His lab focuses on translational research—converting discoveries in the lab into practical uses for humans—bridging molecular neurobiology in animal models with human genetic research on emotion, particularly fear and anxiety disorders.

Carlezon is the chief of the Jerry and Phyllis Rappaport Center of Excellence in Basic Neuroscience Research at McLean. He is also focused on translational research. He studies nature/nurture issues as they relate to the brain and the basic processes by which the brain develops and is modified in response to experience.

He believes that improving the synergies between neuroscience and psychiatry is critical to enhancing the efficiency of translational research. Carlezon is similarly passionate about the notion that diversity, equity, and inclusion are important for advancing neuroscience.

“It is an honor to be elected as a council member of the ACNP, an organization that has had such a profound influence on my career development and the scientific questions we study in my lab,” said Carlezon.

“In this role, I intend to seek ways to improve the alignment of psychiatry and neuroscience, which need to be communicating without hurdles if new insights into the neurobiology of mental illness are to be translated into better treatments,” Carlezon added. “I also intend to continue efforts I started as editor of the ACNP’s journal, Neuropsychopharmacology, to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion at the organization and in our field.”

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