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University of Iowa News Release

May 1, 2006

UI's Nancy Andreasen Receives First Annual Vanderbilt Prize

Nancy Andreasen, M.D., Ph.D., the Andrew H. Woods Chair of Psychiatry at the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, has been selected as the first recipient of the Vanderbilt Prize in Biomedical Science.

The new annual award was established by the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine to honor women who have significantly advanced the biological and biomedical sciences and contributed positively to the mentorship of women in science.

As the Vanderbilt Prize recipient, Andreasen will receive $25,000 and will have a scholarship established in her name to support a promising medical student or doctoral candidate beginning her studies at Vanderbilt. Andreasen also will serve on the thesis committee of the scholarship recipient.

A total of 48 nominations were received from across the country. Selection was based on scientific achievement demonstrated by published, peer-reviewed research, leadership in biomedical science and mentorship of other women in science.

"Our goal was to create an award that would both recognize an outstanding woman scientist as well as provide a career development opportunity for one of our students," said Steven Gabbe, M.D., dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. "This is truly an investment in the future of women in science through the outstanding mentors, such as Dr. Andreasen, that the Vanderbilt Prize will provide for our students."

Andreasen, who also is director of the Iowa Mental Health Clinical Research Center, is one of the world's foremost authorities on schizophrenia. She was a pioneer in applying neuroimaging techniques to study the neural basis of major mental illness. Her work was among the first to suggest that schizophrenia is linked to abnormal brain development and that a decrease in the size of the brain's frontal lobe is associated with the "negative symptoms" of the disorder, including impaired cognitive function.

"I am deeply honored to be the first recipient of the Vanderbilt Prize for Biomedical Science," Andreasen said. "I am especially honored because this prize recognizes not only doing good science, but also the mentoring of other scientists. Helping to nurture the next generation of scientists is one of the most important things a senior scientist can do."

Andreasen's research has also provided insight into the brain mechanisms underlying language, emotion and the creative process. She led the first extensive empirical study of creativity and was the first to recognize the association between creativity and manic-depressive illness.

In addition to publishing numerous scientific articles, Andreasen has published 15 books, including a "brain trilogy" that educates the general public about neuroscience, mental illness and creativity. Her most recent book, "The Creating Brain: The Neuroscience of Genius," examines questions of creativity, including the influence of genes and environment and differences between extraordinary creativity and ordinary creativity.

Andreasen has received numerous awards, including the President's National Medal of Science, and is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. She has also served as editor of the American Journal of Psychiatry, the leading journal in the field, for 13 years.

"Dr. Andreasen is a dedicated researcher and educator at all levels of medical training. She is a champion for women in science and has been an exceptional mentor to women pursuing scientific careers," said Jean Robillard, M.D., dean of the UI Carver College of Medicine. "Dr. Andreasen also has made major contributions to the general public's understanding of mental illness and how the brain works. We are delighted that she is the first recipient of this distinctive honor from Vanderbilt."

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5137 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 5224-1178

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