February, 2015
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Society of Biological Psychiatry
"Scientists collaborating to eliminate the suffering of mental illness."
In This Issue
SOBP Vision Statement
Message from the Editor
2015 Meeting Registration
Article Headline
Article Headline
Other Meetings of Interest
Get Involved
Add SOBP to your Contacts
SOBP Contact Information
SOBP Vision Statement

The vision of the Society of Biological Psychiatry is to integrate, advance, and promulgate science relevant to psychiatric disorders, in order to reduce or prevent the suffering of people with these conditions.  

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May 14-16, 2015



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Message from the Editor

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I hope you are all finalizing your plans to attend our 70th annual SOBP meeting May 14-16 in Toronto. We have finished reviewing abstracts and I can tell you from my own reviews, we are finalizing a truly excellent scientific program.  As I've stated many times in this space, SOBP is truly one of the very best venues to cross-disciplinary interaction to lead to new ideas and collaborations to advance, ultimately, how we improve our society's health by better understanding and treating mental illness. This year's theme "Stress, Emotion, Neurodevelopment and Psychopathology" addresses one of the key intersections in our field; namely how stressful life events intersect with developing brains and the expression of mental illness. Stress is often a precipitant of worsening course of illness (e.g., in bipolar disorder) and may even be causative in some conditions (e.g., PTSD, depression). To this end, improving our understanding of how stress impacts brain function and behavior may advance how we manage psychiatric disorders. To that end, our plenary sessions provide an important context to weave this them throughout the meeting.

Specifically, beginning on the first day, Dr. Joseph LeDoux from NYU is discussing "Coming to Terms with Fear." As he describes, "fear is a fundamental part of human life, and plays a central role in psychiatric disorders." He will discuss a more nuanced and sophisticated model of classic Pavlovian fear conditioning to better frame the underlying neural processes toward understanding human behavior. Next, Dr. Karl Deisseroth from Stanford will talk about important advances in optogenetics and how this important technology can advance our ability to study brain development while probing for disease mechanisms in models of depression and anxiety. Dr. Kerry Ressler from Emory will extend the previous talks by reviewing progress in differential genetic susceptibility to disorders of fear as they relate to fear learning and memory and the development of PTSD and other related conditions.  To end the first day, Dr. Barbara Rothbaum also from Emory will discuss new approaches to disrupt fear learning therapeutically near the time of trauma to reduce the symptoms and development of PTSD.  Together these talks provide a substrate for additional conversation around managing traumatic and other fear-linked depressive and anxiety disorders.

On the second day, stress rules, hopefully not because of activities within the conference itself! Dr. Bruce McEwen from Rockefeller kicks of the day with a review of recent work defining how the plastic brain responds to stress through gene activation and repression, neuronal remodeling and neurochemical and receptor changes. Building upon that talk, Dr. George Koob will then relate these changes to the development of drug and alcohol addiction as an expression of brain plasticity in response to stress. Indeed, it is well known that stress is a coming cause of drug relapse, but understanding these systems may also help develop novel and more successful treatments. Dr. Elisabeth Binder, another Emory scientist (one must wonder what is going on at Emory where so much stress and fear is aroundJ), will review a specific glucocorticoid receptor-regulating co-chaperone FKBP5 as an example of a novel molecular target for treatment development. The session will be concluded by Dr. Alan Schatzberg from Stanford who will review recent advances in understanding the molecular underpinnings underlying relationships between the body's stress response system and the development of psychosis during the course of depression. After such a 'stressful' morning we hope attendees will relax by gathering coffee and friends and heading to good symposia and discussion.

On the final morning of the conference, the theme shifts to neurodevelopment to extend the previous two days of relating neural plasticity, stress and psychiatric disorders. Dr. Fred Gage from the Salk Institute will describe recent work reprogramming human neurons in vitro, derived from preprogrammed somatic cells, to understand brain function and human diseases. Specific molecular pathways can therefore be studied that might have direct relevance to major psychiatric conditions like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Dr. Huda Akil from the University of Michigan brings findings from genomic and human postmortem studies to challenge conceptions of how the pathophysiology of major depression arises at the molecular and cellular levels.  Dr. Francis Lee then moves us through specific neural developmental molecular models of circuits that modulate fear and how age-dependent differences in these networks' function, especially around adolescence, may dramatically alter the efficacy of standard cognitive-behavioral therapies. Finally, the plenary sessions end with Dr. Danny Weinberger of the Lieber Institute moves us past standard GWAS to thinking about gene transcription effects may serve as more informative molecular models of evolving pathology and the neurodevelopmental process underlying such. This last day integrates and extends the previous plenary sessions into a broad approach to considering the role of stress on changes in the brain leading to psychiatric disorder.

Obviously, I cannot do justice to the sophistication of these discussions and likely lack the intellect to even accurately understand them, so I hope that you will plan to attend these sessions and participate in lively collaborations and discussions. I look forward to seeing you in Toronto. Despite the topics, we will ensure the meeting will not be stressful or fearful, but instead will once again be a chance to meet friends, extend ideas and head home with the next grant proposal in mind!


Best Wishes,

Steve Strakowski, MD

SOBP President Elect

Senior Vice President, Strategy & Transformation, UC Health

Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, Psychology and BME, University of Cincinnati


Disclaimer:  The opinions expressed in these editorials are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Society of Biological Psychiatry, its officers, or members. 
2015 Meeting Registration
May 14-16, 2015
Fairmont Royal York Hotel
Toronto, Ontario - Canada
Preregistration Closes - April 23, 2015
Registration fees increase $100 after April 23rd
Last Day to Register - April 30, 2015

Meeting registration and hotel reservation information is available at

You may view the entire program and create your individual itinerary by using the On-Line Program Planner.

New Members - Effective March 1, 2015
Please welcome our new members:



Member Type





Monsheel Sohdi




Adrian Preda




Tarik Rajii




Fang Wang


del Re


Robert McCarley




Dost Ongur



Student Member

Mary Phillips




Mark S. George




Jian-Guo Chen




Jair Soares




Wendy Kates



Associate Member

Jon Cullum




Ramin Parsey




Carlos Forray




Geoffrey Hall



Student Member

Kelly Newell




Steve Strakowski



Student Member

Helen Mayberg




Daniel Javitt




Jair Soares



Student Member

Ramin Parsey



Student Member

Stephanie Dulawa




Scott Sponheim




Jian-Guo Chen




Kathryn Connor




Rajenda Morey

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Other Meetings of Interest


ASCP 14th Annual Workshop on Clinical Trials in Psychopharmacology
April 30 - May 1, 2015
Doubletree Hotel - New York City

International Society for Research on Impulsivity
May 13, 2015
Toronto, Ontario - Canada
Satellite Meeting to Society of Biological Psychiatry Meeting

ISBD 2015 -17th Annual Conference of the International Society of Bipolar Disorders 
June 3-6, 2015
Toronto, Ontario Canada

Science of Change - Neuroimaging Mechanisms of Change in Psychotherapy for Addictive Behaviors
June 19-20, 2015
San Antonio, Texas

23rd World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics
October 16-20, 2015
Toronto, Ontario Canada

ACNP 54th Annual Meeting
December 6-10, 2015
Hollywood, Florida

Get Involved - Join a Committee
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SOBP's Career Center connects our members with employment opportunities and employers with the best professionals within our membership. Employment opportunities range from post-doc positions, faculty positions, neuroscience jobs in industry and alternative careers.
Visit SOBP's Career Center  today to explore employment opportunities.  Post an anonymous resume for employers or recruiters to view.
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Contact Us
Society of Biological Psychiatry Business Office
4500 San Pablo Rd - Birdsall 310
Jacksonville, FL 32224
904-953-2842 Office
904-953-7117 Fax
Biological Psychiatry Editorial Office
The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
6363 Forest Park Rd., Suite 651 
Dallas, TX 75235-5435 
214-648-0880 Office 
214-648-0881 Fax
Society of Biological Psychiatry Newsletter Editorial Staff 

Stephen M. Strakowski, MD, Editor

Editorial Board
Helen Mayberg, MD
William B. Lawson, MD, PhD, DLFAPA 
Alan H. Young, MD, PhD 
Caleb M. Adler, MD

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