Two Mount Sinai Researchers Honored for Schizophrenia Research by the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

Schahram Akbarian, MD, PhD, and Kristen Brennand, PhD, Are Awarded Prizes

Newswise — NEW YORK, NY (October 31, 2018) The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, the world’s largest private funder of mental health research grants, honored two Mount Sinai researchers with its 2018 Outstanding Achievement Prizes at its International Awards Dinner on Friday, October 26, 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.

Schahram Akbarian, MD, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, and Chief of the Division of Psychiatric Epigenomics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, received the Lieber Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Schizophrenia Research. Dr,. Akbarian studies genome organization and genome function, including gene expression in brain cells. His laboratory is exploring epigenetic regulation of gene expression in order to identify epigenetic drug targets and novel treatment avenues for psychosis, depression, and other psychiatric disease. Dr. Akbarian is an authority on gene expression and epigenetic mechanisms in the context of major brain and behavior disorders. He has studied chemical modifications of histones, small proteins that are involved in packaging the DNA of our genome. Epigenetic modifications of histones have an impact on gene expression.

“I feel deeply honored by the Lieber award,” said Dr. Akbarian. “I started my journey towards understanding genome organization and function in the human brain 25 years ago to advance the science and change what it means to live with a mental illness.”

Kristen Brennand, PhD, Associate Professor of Genetics and Genomics, Neuroscience, and Psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, received the Maltz Prize for Innovative and Promising Schizophrenia Research. By combining expertise in stem cell biology and neurobiology, she has helped to pioneer a new approach in the study of psychiatric disease.

“This award is recognition of the ongoing work in my laboratory, and a strong indication of the growing appreciation of the value of stem cell-based research in uncovering and understanding the complex interplay of genetic variants underlying risk for psychiatric disease,” said Dr. Brennand.  


About Mount Sinai Health System

The Mount Sinai Health System is New York City’s largest integrated delivery system encompassing seven hospital campuses, a leading medical school, and a vast network of ambulatory practices throughout the greater New York region. Mount Sinai’s vision is to produce the safest care, the highest quality, the highest satisfaction, the best access and the best value of any health system in the nation. The System includes approximately 6,600 primary and specialty care physicians; 11 joint-venture ambulatory surgery centers; more than 140 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and 31 affiliated community health centers. The Icahn School of Medicine is one of three medical schools that have earned distinction by multiple indicators: ranked in the top 20 by U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Medical Schools”, aligned with a U.S. News & World Report’s “Honor Roll” Hospital, it is ranked as a leading medical school for National Institutes of Health funding, and among the top 10 most innovative research institutions as ranked by the journal Nature in its Nature Innovation Index. This reflects a special level of excellence in education, clinical practice, and research. The Mount Sinai Hospital is ranked No. 18 on U.S. News & World Report’s “Honor Roll” of top U.S. hospitals; it is one of the nation’s top 20 hospitals in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Geriatrics, Nephrology, and Neurology/Neurosurgery, and in the top 50 in six other specialties in the 2018-2019 “Best Hospitals” issue. Mount Sinai’s Kravis Children’s Hospital also is ranked nationally in five out of ten pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report. The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked 11th nationally for Ophthalmology and 44th for Ear, Nose, and Throat, while Mount Sinai Beth Israel, Mount Sinai St. Luke’s and Mount Sinai West are ranked regionally. For more information, visit, or find Mount Sinai on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.