Dr. Godfrey D. Pearlson selected to receive prestigious Stanley Dean Award for Research in Schizophrenia from the American College of Psychiatrists

April 28, 2014

(Hartford, CT) -- Godfrey Pearlson, MD, Founding Director of the Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center at the Institute of Living (IOL), will receive the prestigious Stanley Dean Award for Research in Schizophrenia from the American College of Psychiatrists in 2015. 

Dr. Pearlson is being honored for his lifetime of research in this field, which the bestowing organization says constitutes a “major contribution to the understanding and treatment of schizophrenic disorders.” 

“Dr. Pearlson’s research on schizophrenia has advanced the scientific understanding, diagnosis and treatment of this brain disease,” said Harold I. Schwartz, IOL’s Psychiatristin-Chief and Vice President of the Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network. “He is clearly a leader in the field of neuroscience, and we are both pleased and privileged that he is performing that cutting edge research here in Connecticut at the IOL.”

During the course of his research, Dr. Pearlson has examined and challenged the earliest notions about schizophrenia, particularly in comparison to bipolar disorder.

“Much of my work over the past 30 years has examined whether or not these are separate diseases, what the underlying biology of these disorders may be, and whether or not you can use biological criteria to better separate them,” Dr. Pearlson said.

While the distinction between the two disorders broke down at a biological level in that they appear to overlap substantially, one exciting discovery from data collected from over 3,000 patients, family members and control subjects indicates the possibility that schizophrenia and bipolar disorder separate into three distinct “biotypes,” essentially signifying three new and distinct biologically defined illnesses. Each biotype contains patients who would be conventionally diagnosed as having either schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, and are similar with regard to symptoms, but the biotypes are distinctly different at the level of MRI, EEG
and genetic patterns. This holds the possibility that the diagnosis and treatment of these biotypes may be more targeted and personalized to patients than once imagined. Pearlson and the teams with which he works at IOL as well as Harvard, University of Chicago, University of Texas-Southwestern and University of Georgia are now applying to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to conduct a treatment trial to see if these three biotypes respond best to different treatments.

The Stanley Dean Award for Research in Schizophrenia has been awarded yearly since 1964. As part of the award ceremony at next year’s annual meeting of the American College of Psychiatrists, Dr. Pearlson will present a lecture to his distinguished colleagues focusing on his work.

The Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network is comprised of Hartford Hospital’s Institute of Living, Natchaug Hospital, Rushford and the behavioral health departments of the Hospital of Central Connecticut, MidState Medical Center, and The William W. Backus Hospital. For over a century, the members of the Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network have been connecting people with services including inpatient and outpatient services -- and everything in between -- in a variety of settings for children, adolescents and adults with mental health or substance abuse issues.

Hartford Hospital