2024 Lifetime Achievement Award

Professor Dame Til Wykes Named the 2024 Lifetime Achievement Awardee

Dame Til Wykes is a professor and Head of Mental Health and Psychological Sciences at King’s College London and a consultant clinical psychologist at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. She led the UK NHS-wide infrastructure to support mental health research for the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR), was an NIHR senior investigator and now the NIHR Senior Spokesperson on mental health research. In addition to her scientific studies, grants, and publications, her research has had impact through the development of the CIRCuiTSTM cognitive remediation software and novel co-production methods that are used internationally. She influenced national and international research strategies through the European ROAMER (2015), and UK Mental Health Research Goals projects (2021). She champions Patient and Public Involvement and founded the renowned Service User Research Enterprise which employs excellent researchers with experience of using mental health services. Her influence has been recognised by the British Psychological Society (2014), a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDTM for the Largest Mental Health Lesson, a Damehood from the Queen (2016) and by the EPA for Outstanding Achievement by a Woman in Working to Improve Mental Health Care in Europe. She has been secretary, treasurer, and president of SIRS. She is an elected fellow of the Academies of Medical Sciences, Social Sciences, and the Arts, and has two honorary Doctor of Science degrees. She ran the national campaign for a statutory minimum wage when a PhD student and now campaigns on gender pensions equity in the periods between being a proud grandmother.

I am very honoured to receive this award from an organisation I have always held in high esteem. My research has always involved people with lived experience, and I want to give a shout out to all of them who have challenged my world view and provided research questions that have always been the most interesting. My research isn’t in an “ology”, like many other award winners we have traversed the gamut of issues in schizophrenia research. My crooked path has taken me into developing outcome measures, measuring patient preferences, developing treatments, assessing their benefit and real-world implementation through to more general issues on the impact of community treatments. Now, in the new AI era, I am trying to understand how digital technologies can help in tailoring so it is more effective and how we can reduce the presence of stigmatising tweets (or Xs?) on schizophrenia. My research has had a large dose of cognitive remediation, especially developing a software programme CIRCuiTSTM. This research stream highlights my approach as it involves each and every stage of my crooked path and especially lived experience involvement. My hope for the future is that aspiring researchers will also feel they do not need to be boxed in and that their research will always keep the SIRS vision in mind – “to advance the understanding, research, prevention and treatment of schizophrenia and related disorders until they are no longer a cause of human suffering.” I hope to be able to contribute to all those elements and assume that this Lifetime achievement award means a celebration of my past work and is no barrier to a contribution in the future.

A Message from Paola Dazzan

I am delighted to see Til as the recipient of the 2024 SIRS Lifetime Achievement Award. This award recognises Til’s exceptional contribution to the field of schizophrenia: she has developed, tested, and implemented novel treatments for people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, championing the involvement of people with lived experience in research. Her work has influenced national and international research strategies, and all of this while tirelessly committing to our Society, helping shape and deliver the SIRS strategy. We are thrilled to present her with this Lifetime Achievement Award, in appreciation for her exceptional service.

Dolores Malaspina Named the 2024 Lifetime Achievement Awardee

Dr. Dolores Malaspina is Professor of Psychiatry, Neuroscience and Genetic and Genomic Sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York where she directs the system wide Psychosis Program. She trained in psychiatry and began her career at Columbia University and New York State Psychiatric Institute, becoming the director of Clinical Neurobiology and launching the “Schizophrenia Research Unit” (SRU) and high-risk programs. She subsequently became the Chairman and the Anita and Joseph Steckler Professor of Psychiatry at New York University and the Bellevue Hospital Center also founding the multidisciplinary “Institute for Social and Psychiatric Initiatives” (InSPIRES) to study the heterogeneous underpinnings of psychosis and train beginning investigators. Dr. Malaspina holds degrees in environmental biology (Boston U), zoology (Rutgers U) and epidemiology (Columbia U), in addition to her medical training (Rutgers) which together established the framework for her translational studies across populations, patients and healthy subjects. She first proposed and demonstrated large effects of advancing paternal age on the risk for schizophrenia, explaining the substantial impact of rare gene variants in its genetic architecture, also was the first to show resting hippocampal hyperperfusion in persons with psychosis, subsequently shown to be from neuroinflammaiton. Current work on the gut-brain-axis links hippocampal inflammation to peripheral autonomic neuropathy. A focus on community exposures, trauma and life course adversity is central to her perspectives and she also serves as the inaugural Vice Chair for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the Mount Sinai Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Malaspina is also an expert clinician, recognized by US News And World Report and other rankings, and serves on the steering committee for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel (DSM) for the American Psychiatric Association. She has published 300 papers and had continual research support from the National Institute of Mental Health. Her career is equally devoted to psychiatric education and, particularly, to mentoring beginning investigators across educational backgrounds and disciplines, including leading roles in several training grants, a 10-year K 24 grant to mentor translational schizophrenia researchers, and as the mentor to a half dozen K awardees.


I am so honored and delighted to receive this award from my peers. My career was inspired by the courage and struggles of my sister Eileen, who suffered from a severe psychotic illness, and I have worked continually to impact the lives of people with schizophrenia through research and clinical care. Building on the family- sporadic distinction, I proposed paternal age and also prenatal adversity as seeds of psychosis, identifying hippocampal inflammation as a forme furste of systemic inflammation. My scientific journey is enriched by my colleagues, so many of whom are in this organization, dear mentees and fellow travelers, and the persons with severe mental illness I have had the privilege to know and provide clinical directions.

A Message from Cheryl Corcoran

Dr. Dolores Malaspina is very deserving of this year’s SIRS Lifetime Achievement Award in Schizophrenia Research. She is innovative and thinks outside the box. Her work has been motivated by her sister having schizophrenia and has been enriched by broad learning, in fields as disparate as zoology and physiology.

Dr. Malaspina’s contribution to schizophrenia research has been groundbreaking, including major discoveries, such as the importance of advanced paternal age, olfaction, interoception, the gut-brain axis, stress sensitivity and social determinants in the heterogeneous pathophysiology and expression of schizophrenia.

Dr. Malaspina has been enormously generative, and has modeled for her many mentees her enthusiasm and joy, and what it means to be a successful woman physician-scientist.

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