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Outstanding research rewarded

24 October 2012

Two University scientists are heading Stateside to collect a major international prize for Schizophrenia research.

Professor Mike Owen and Professor Mick O'Donovan from the University's MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics based in the School of Medicine will collect The Lieber Prize in New York in recognition of their 'outstanding' work into the causes, prevention, and treatment of the disorder.

The Lieber Prize for Schizophrenia Research recognises research scientists who have the most distinguished contributions to the understanding of Schizophrenia.

Professor Mike Owen
Professor Mike Owen

Professor Owen said: "It's a great honour for us to receive The Leiber Prize. The success of our research has only been possible because of an outstanding team of colleagues and the many researchers who have worked with us on a day-to-day basis for more than 20 years to tackle this dreadful disease.

"The development of new therapies for severe disorders such as Schizophrenia continues to be hampered by our lack of understanding of disease mechanisms.

"Given recent advances in genomics and neuroscience, there has never been a better time to tackle these conditions. This prize will help us and our teams at Cardiff University to continue to gain new understanding and work to relieve the burden of mental illness to society."

Professor Mick O’Donovan
Professor Mick O’Donovan

Professor O'Donovan added: "Central to the progress our own laboratories have made in uncovering some of the first clear causal factors in this disorder, has been the willingness of researchers across the globe to share data with us to help us test promising leads emerging from our work in enormous studies, for which we are both grateful.

"This sort of collaborative spirit has transformed our own work and along with recent technology developments, is finally unlocking the promise of genetics as a tool for casting light on the biological origins of schizophrenia as well as other psychiatric diseases".

Professor Owen heads the University's flagship MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics and the Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute, Professor O'Donovan is also the Deputy Director of the MRC Centre.

Their research has helped identify the first robustly supported susceptibility genes for Schizophrenia and identified likely disease mechanisms.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Elizabeth Treasure said: "Professor Owen and Professor O'Donovan are both outstanding researchers who have made some of the most important discoveries in Schizophrenia in the last two decades.

"Their work to help identify new genes that affect the risk of developing Schizophrenia has helped change the way the disease is viewed and opened up new opportunities for prevention and treatment in the future.

"It has helped raise the profile of a disease that, despite its enormous cost to individuals and society, remains neglected and has firmly put Cardiff University on the world map for its pioneering work in tackling mental illness."

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