DNA Methylation Is Focus of Plenary Address on Day 3 of World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics in Jerusalem; Prestigious Prizes Also Awarded

JERUSALEM, NOVEMBER 1. Day 3 of the XXIV World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics opened with a plenary address by Howard Cedar Ph.D., of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, entitled “DNA Methylation: Bridging the Gap Between Genes and Function.” In his address, Dr. Cedar emphasized that prior to implantation, the embryo undergoes a wave of demethylation in which all the methyl marks of the parents are removed. Then, at implantation, there is a wave of methylation that will provide the developing embryo with its own methylation patterns. Dr. Cedar’s address was followed by the presentation of a number of important awards from the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics (ISPG) in a ceremony presided over by Dr. Jimmy Potash, the ISPG Awards Committee Chairman. These awards included the Gershon Paper of the Year Award, the Richard Todd Award for most impressive submission in the area of child psychiatry, the Theodore Reich Young Investigator Award to a scientist 40 years or younger who has accomplished work of “exceptional merit.” Finally, the Ming Tsuang Lifetime Achievement Award was also presented. The Gershon Paper of the Year Award was presented jointly to Liping Hou, Ph.D., Urs Heilbronner, Ph.D., and Franziska Degenhardt, M.D., as the three lead authors of the Lancet paper “Genetic Variability Associated with Response to Lithium Treatment in Bipolar Disorder—A Genome-Wide Association Study.” The Richard Todd Award was presented to Joseph Bauxbaum, Ph.D., Director of the Seaver Autism Center at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, for his impressive submission on autism. The Todd Reich Young Investigator Award went to Menachem Fromer, Ph.D., now of Verily Life Sciences, who was introduced by Pamela Sklar, Ph.D., of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York.
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