2024 Congress Plenary Speakers

Robin Emsley

2024 Congress Plenary Session Topic: Psychopharmacology within Schizophrenia

Robin Emsley is a Professor Emeritus in Psychiatry in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Stellenbosch, Cape Town, South Africa. Previously, he was Executive Head of the Department of Psychiatry for 23 years. After that he held the Sarah Turoff Endowed Chair in Schizophrenia Research. He obtained my medical degree (MBChB) at the University of Cape Town in 1974 and my psychiatry degree (MMed) at the University of Stellenbosch in 1981. He received a Doctorate in Medicine in 1987 and a Doctor of Science degree in 2007 for studies in the psychopathology, neurobiology and psychopharmacology of schizophrenia. His main areas of interest are in the clinical, neurobiological and pharmacological aspects of schizophrenia. His group has published widely in this field. He is the Editor of the journal Schizophrenia and serves on the Editorial Boards of Schizophrenia Research, Psychiatry Research, Early Intervention in Psychiatry and Schizophrenia Bulletin Open. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry in 2021 and the Distinguished Service Award of the Schizophrenia International Research Society in 2022.

Raquel Gur

2024 Congress Plenary Session Topic: Brain Development and Psychosis


Sara Evans-Lacko

2024 Congress Plenary Session Topic: Stigma and Economic Determinants

Dr. Evans-Lacko is an Associate Professorial Research Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science, Care Policy and Evaluation Centre. Her research has focused key issues of importance in global mental health particularly around the social and economic impacts of mental health problems. She approaches these issues using interdisciplinary methods which integrate insights from public health, psychiatry and economics. Her research aims to improve access to care and support for individuals with mental illness which will positively impact their long-term mental health and socio-economic outcomes. She has a PhD in Health Policy and Management, from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. 

Matcheri Keshavan

2024 Congress Plenary Session Topic: Cognitive Subtypes in Schizophrenia

Dr. Keshavan is Stanley Cobb Professor of Psychiatry at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; Harvard Medical School, a position he assumed in April 2008. He is also Academic Head for the department. . Dr. Keshavan received his medical training in Mysore, India (where he graduated at the top of his University), and his psychiatric training in Bangalore (India), Vienna, London, and Detroit. In 1986, Dr. Keshavan joined the faculty at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, Pittsburgh, PA. He was appointed full tenured Professor in 1998. Between 2004 and 2008, he served as Tenured Professor and Associate Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI.

Dr. Keshavan is closely involved in research in neurobiology of psychosis, especially as it pertains to first episode psychotic disorders. His research has resulted in over 800 publications to date, including over 600 peer-reviewed papers, 4 books, and 100 reviews/ book chapters. He has received several awards including the Gaskell Gold Medal of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (1985); Nancy Roschke Certificate for Teaching Excellence of the American Psychiatric Association in 1993; Teaching awards at the Departments of Psychiatry in Pittsburgh (1992, 1994, and 2004), Wayne State University (2008) and at Harvard (2011); the 2003 NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill) of Pennsylvania Psychiatrist of the Year Award, the 2013 Gerard Hogarty Award for Research from the University of Pittsburgh, the 2019 Outstanding Research Award, National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) and the 2021 Clinical Research Award, Schizophrenia International Research Society. He is a distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association; a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, Canada; and a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, UK.

Dr. Keshavan is the Editor-in-Chief of the Schizophrenia Research (Elsevier) and the Founding Editor of Asian J Psychiatry. In addition, Dr. Keshavan is often invited to speak at national and international conferences. He has several funded grants. His main areas of research include the neurodevelopmental basis of schizophrenia, neuroimaging, and early intervention. He has an active clinical practice at BIDMC.

Ramachandran Padmavati

2024 Congress Plenary Session Topic: SCARF India - Data in Cultural Differences & Psychosis

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Jari Tiihonen

2024 Congress Plenary Session Topic: Big Data and Relation to Pharmacotherapy

Prof Tiihonen has authored 569 papers in peer-reviewed journals (567 listed in Scopus). First author in 78 papers and last author in 170 papers. His Hirsch-index (H-index) is 73 (Sep 26, 2023) and he has over 20,500 citations.

The main topics in his scientific work in psychiatry are psychopharmacology, stem cell studies to elucidate neurobiology of schizophrenia, functional brain imaging, autoradiography studies on dopamine and serotonin receptors and transporters in the human brain, and epidemiology, genetics and neurobiology of schizophrenia, substance dependence, and violent and suicidal behavior.

Prof Tiihonen has developed pharmacoepidemiological methodology to study real-world effectiveness of psychopharmacological treatments by using nation-wide databases, and he has also conducted several randomized controlled trials on treatment-resistant schizophrenia and substance dependence. The publications by his group have influenced treatment practices of schizophrenia worldwide, and the latest American Psychiatric Association treatment guideline (Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients with Schizophrenia, 3rd ed. 2021) has cited 8 of these publications related to pharmacological treatment of schizophrenia.

Oliver Howes

2024 Congress Plenary Session Topic: Synaptic Hypothesis of Schizophrenia

Oliver Howes is Professor of Molecular Psychiatry at King’s and Imperial Colleges, London and Head of the Department of Psychosis Studies. He is a Consultant Psychiatrist at The Maudsley Hospital, where he runs a clinical service for people with psychosis. His past industry experience includes a period as Vice President for Translational Neuropsychiatry at Lundbeck A/v.

His research interests centre on trying to understand what underlies mental illnesses and to develop better treatments for them. This includes the role of dopamine, GABA, glutamate, and the immune systems. He has published over 400 scientific papers and some of these have even been read. His work has been recognised through a number of awards including the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology Award for Translational Research (2022), Royal College of Psychiatrists Researcher of the Year Award (2017), Schizophrenia International Research Society Rising Star Award (2013), European Psychiatric Association Biological Psychiatry Prize (2012), and the Royal Society of Medicine Psychiatry Prize (2010). Web of Science named him as one of the most influential researchers in the world over the last decade. He was elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2020. Other career highlights include working as a potato scrubber on a farm. He spends his spare time searching for the world’s best ice-cream and trying to make kimchi.

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