2024 Research Excellence Award

Sinan Guloksuz Named the 2024 Research Excellence Awardee

Dr. Sinan Guloksuz is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, School for Mental Health and Neuroscience, Maastricht University, and the Department of Psychiatry, Specialized Treatment Early in Psychosis (STEP) Program, Yale University School of Medicine. He earned his MD degree from Gazi University, Turkey, and MSc and PhD degrees from Maastricht University, the Netherlands. His PhD project investigated the biological mechanisms of environmental stressors in psychosis, with a particular focus on the immune system. He completed the psychiatry residency program at Bakirkoy Research and Training Hospital for Psychiatry, Neurology, and Neurosurgery, Istanbul, Turkey.

With a background in clinical psychiatry and epidemiology, his research focus has been on understanding the mechanisms underlying mental health outcomes and investigating the contribution of exposome and genome to multidimensional behavioral and cognitive phenotypes in the general population cohorts and large case-control samples, such as the EUGEI study. The second body of his work has been in the areas of clinical trials and service research for psychosis spectrum disorder, in particular Early Detection and Prevention.

He currently serves as the Vice Coordinator and the Work-Package Leader (Data Inference) in the EU Horizon 2021 project: Gene Environment interactions in Mental health trajectorieS of Youth (Youth-GEMs) with a total budget of € 10 million and the Work-Package Co-Leader (Gene-Environment Interaction) in the ZonMw-funded project: Outcome of Psychosis: Heterogeneity Explained by Long-lasting Individual Attributes (OPHELIA) with a total budget of € 1.5 million. His research aims to integrate exposomic and genomic data to provide mechanistic understanding of potentially modifiable factors and to translate these into clinical practice and evidence-based policy for population-based intervention and precision prevention approaches to increase mental well-being and resilience within the community.

I am truly honored to receive this award. Being recognized for my contributions to schizophrenia research by my peers is profoundly humbling. I owe a debt of gratitude to my mentors, mentees, collaborators, and people with lived experiences; each interaction has shaped my career. I will continue to dedicate myself to producing research that aims to make a difference in the lives of people living with psychosis, fulfilling my promise to my closest ones.

A Message from Robin Murray

Dr. Sinan Guloksuz has made a series of ground-breaking contributions to schizophrenia research such as gene-environment interactions, exposome scores, and transdiagnostic psychosis phenotypes. He led the Gene-Environment Interaction research in the EUGEI study that has provided, for the first time, molecular evidence for gene-environment interaction in schizophrenia. Acknowledging the complexity of environment, he has been one of the first to adopt the exposome framework for environmental research in psychiatry. The exposome score of schizophrenia represents a novel approach in measuring the cumulative impact of environmental exposures on an individual's mental health. He has used the exposome score to test gene-environment and environment-environment interactions, improve psychosis prediction, and risk stratification, and enhance clinical outcome prognostication.

Sinan is committed to fostering an inclusive and collaborative research environment and creating opportunities for underrepresented groups in schizophrenia research as demonstrated in the SIRS Research Harmonization Award project (MINDSET) that gathers researchers across the globe to set minimum data standards for the characterization of the environment in psychosis research.

All of these attributes make Sinan an outstandingly talented clinician scientist, already making a tangible impact as an emerging leader, with innovative contributions to schizophrenia research. This award rightly acknowledges Sinan's achievements!

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