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Nancy Andreasen M.D.,Ph.D.

Nancy Andreasen M.D.,Ph.D.

National Medal of Science - Biological Sciences 2000

Psychiatrist, Litterateur. Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience, Genomics, Neuroimaging, Neuroscience of Creativity, Schizophrenia. Writes books to educate laity and reduce stigma. Founding Chair, Neuroscience Section, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Creative people tend to be very persistent, even when confronted with skepticism or rejection.


Generously contributed by Nancy Andreasen

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Nancy Andreasen, US President Bill Clinton [left] and her husband Captain Terry Gwinn Photo: Courtesy Nancy Andreasen, 2000.

A foremost authority on schizophrenia and a recipient of the President's National Medal of Science,

Dr. Andreasen pioneered the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to identify brain mechanisms of mental illnesses. 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 certain symptoms of the disorder, including impaired cognitive function. She was also among the first people to pioneer the integration of neuroimaging and genomics, and much of her current work focuses on genetic/genomic regulation of illness onset, course, and outcome, particularly with respect to neuroimaging brain measures. Dr. Andreasen's research has also provided insight into 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 bipolar disorder. She is currently conducting a second major study of creativity in prominent artists and scientists.

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Nancy Andreasen and US President Bill Clinton 2000. Photo: Courtesy Nancy Andreasen.

Her contributions to science and to educating the lay public have been enhanced by her unusual combination of expertise in both literature and science; her PhD is in Renaissance English literature. She has used her literary skills to write books designed to educate the lay public and to reduce stigma. Among her 15 books is a "brain trilogy" that she wrote to educate nonscientists about neuroscience, mental illness and creativity: The Broken Brain, Brave New Brain, and The Creating Brain. Her 2005 book, "The Creating Brain: The Neuroscience of Genius," examines questions of creativity, including the influence of genes and environment. She has also published more than 600 scientific articles.

She has also contributed to nosology and phenomenology by serving on both the DSM and DSM IV Task Forces and developing the first widely used scales for rating the positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia.

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Nancy Andreasen in National Medal of Science Group with US President Bill Clinton in Oval Office 2000. Photo: Courtesy Nancy Andreasen.

Dr. Andreasen is past president of the American Psychopathological Association and the Psychiatric Research Society. She is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science and was elected to serve on its governing council for two four year terms. She is also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Society for Neuroscience. She has also received many other awards, including the Interbrew-Baillet-Latour Prize from the Belgian government, the Rhoda and Bernard Sarnat Prize from the Institute of Medicine, the Lieber Prize for Outstanding Schizophrenia Research, the Sigmund Freud Award from the American College of Psychoanalysis, and the Kolb Award and the Sachar Award from Columbia University. The American Psychiatric Association has awarded her its Prize for Research, its Kempf Award for Mentoring, the Hibbs Award, its Adolph Meyer Award, and its Distinguished Service Award. She has received the Stanley Dean Award from The American College of Psychiatrists, as well as its Distinguished Service Award. Most recently, Dr. Andreasen won the Vanderbilt Prize for Biological Science, the UCSF Medal, and the Salmon Award from the New York Academy of Medicine. She was Editor-in-Chief of The American Journal of Psychiatry for 13 years, completing her third term in December 2005.

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Photo: Courtesy Nancy C. Andreasen

Name: Nancy Coover Andreasen, M.D. PhD
Birth: 1938, Lincoln, NE
Citation: "For her pivotal contributions to the social and behavioral sciences, through the integrative study of mind, brain, and behavior, by joining behavioral science with the technologies of neuroscience and neuroimaging in order to understand mental processes such as memory and creativity, and mental illnesses such as schizophrenia." Presented by Dr. Neal Lane, Assistant to the President for Science & Technology, at a black-tie dinner awards ceremony at the National Building Museum, Washington, DC, Friday, December 1, 2000.
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