Accelerating the Process of Scientific Translation

The development of new diagnostic biomarkers and treatments for psychiatric disorders depends on the process of scientific translation. In psychiatry, the process of scientific translation faces special obstacles because of the unique complexity of the human brain.  Nonetheless, we now have an unparalleled opportunity to overcome these obstacles, because of recent advances in neuroscience, genomics, proteomics, neuroimaging and computational biology. 

We have had a historical commitment to translating new scientific knowledge into advances that benefit the care of our patients with psychiatric illnesses.  At no previous time has the need to accelerate the process of scientific translation been greater. We have witnessed, and contributed to, amazing growth in our understanding of the structure and function of the brain, and how brain function forms the basis for cognition and behavior. However, relatively little of this knowledge has been translated into meaningful improvements in our ability to diagnosis and treat our patients with psychiatric disorders. The translation of this new knowledge into new diagnostic tools and therapies is one of the most important challenges of this generation of neuroscientists. 

For the 69th Annual Scientific Meeting, May 8-10, 2014,  plenary speakers who are working to bridge the translational "gap" will share their stories of success and "works in progress" and will focus on the process of scientific translation as well as their specific discoveries.   In addition, I would like to encourage the submission of proposals for panel sessions that focus on specific aspects of the process of scientific translation – including the study of specific obstacles as well as opportunities - as well as oral and poster presentations.

One of the great strengths of our Society is the scientific breadth and depth of our membership and our annual scientific meeting.   Working together, we are poised to succeed in improving the treatment we can offer to our patients, so that they can enjoy more successful lives. I hope to engage all of you in a discussion of how we can accelerate and improve the process of scientific translation in neuroscience.  I can think of no better community of scientists to address this critical need.

John G. Csernansky, MD - President
Jair Soares, MD - Chair, Scientific Program

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