Executive Officers

Paola Dazzan

Prof Paola Dazzan is Professor of Neurobiology of Psychosis, in the Department of Psychosis Studies at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience, King’s College London, and Honorary Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.

She completed her Medical Degree at the University of Cagliari, Italy and obtained a Fellowship in psychiatry that allowed her to pursue her research interests in the UK. She became a Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (MRCPsych) in 1998. In 2002, she completed a Master (MSc) in Psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London. She trained as a psychiatrist at the Maudsley Hospital and completed her Ph.D. at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, in 2006. In 2013 she was nominated Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (FRCPsych).

Prof Dazzan’s main area of research interest is neuroimaging and its application to the study of early psychosis and postpartum psychoses. She is internationally known for her work on the relationship between magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data and other biological measures such as neurodevelopmental indices, stress, and reproductive hormones. She has studied these phenomena in the early stages of psychosis and her interest has developed to include the progression of brain structural changes over the course of psychoses and the biological substrate of postpartum psychoses. She has a strong interest in understanding how antipsychotic drugs affect brain structure and function, and in exploring how to use imaging to predict response to treatment and clinical outcome. Her work has been extensively published in high impact papers, with more than 200 publications and an h-index of 61 (Google Scholar), and has been recognised by several prestigious International Awards, including the 2014 Academic Researcher of the Year Award from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and Honorary Membership of the American Psychiatric Association in recognition of her contribution to psychiatry. In 2017 she received the Guy’s, King’s and St Thomas’s Award for “Outstanding Contribution to Student Experience”, for her work as Lead of Psychiatry teaching in the Medical School.

She has a strong interest in addressing gender inequality and promoting diversity in the academic environment, and until recently was the Co-Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Team of the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, the group that produced the application for the Athena Silver Award obtained by the Faculty. She is a member of the Executive Committees of the Academic and the Perinatal Faculties of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and of the Board of Directors of the Schizophrenia International Research Society. In November 2017 she was appointed Vice Dean International for the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience.

Iris Sommer

Iris Sommer studied public health in Maastricht and medicine in Amsterdam. Later she obtained her PhD (cum laude) in Utrecht on language in schizophrenia. She trained there as a psychiatrist and learned from Prof Rene Kahn and Prof Jean Paul Selten. She started the Voices Clinic in Utrecht and investigated the cerebral basis of auditory verbal hallucinations. She also assembled a multidisciplinary team to study language as a biomarker for schizophrenia using computational linguistics.

In 2017 she moved to the north of the Netherlands to become Director of the Research Institute Brain and Cognition in UMC Groningen. She started the HAMLETT-OPHELIA cohort to study effects of maintenance medication in 350 FEP patients. She also investigated optimal treatment for women with psychosis and leads several studies to investigate the influence of nutrition and the microbiome on brain health. She now leads a team of some 25 PhD students and 5 postdocs.

In 2021 she was appointed Distinguished Lorentz Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies and in 2022 she won the Huijbregtsen Prize for Science and Society. Together with three European colleagues (Prof Philipp Homan, Prof Wolfram Hinzen and Prof Brita Elvevag) she leads two large projects funded by EU to study how speech and language can be used as a biomarker for psychosis. Iris authored six popular scientific books from which three became best-sellers.

Merete Nordentoft
Past President

Merete Nordentoft is an expert in epidemiology, suicidal behavior, psychopathology and a pioneer in early intervention in psychosis. She was PI for many large randomized clinical trials, evaluating the effect of psychosocial intervention, of which the Danish OPUS trial (specialized assertive intervention in first episode psychosis) is the most well known.

She has worked with suicide prevention at a national level since 1997. Together with a group of epidemiologist from Nordic countries, she has proved that life expectancy in schizophrenia is 15 to 20 years shorter than in the general population.

She is involved as one of the PI’s in iPSYCH, the Lundbeck Foundation Initiative for Integrative Psychiatric Research, which aims at investigating genetic and environmental causes of mental disorders. The initiation of the large Danish High Risk and Resilience Study VIA 7, and the first follow-up wave VIA 11 are important parts of iPSYCH.

She was given the prestigious award “Global Excellence in Health” in 2012 and in 2016. She received the Richard Wyatt Award in 2016, The Marie and August Krogh Award in 2017, and The Danish Medical Association’s Honorific Award in 2018.

Celso Arango

Dr Celso Arango is professor and Chair of the Child and Adolescent Department of Psychiatry at Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Marañón, Complutense University in Madrid, Spain. - From 2008-2016, he was the scientific director of the Spanish Center for Biomedical Research in Mental Health (CIBERSAM) which is composed of 24 clinical and basic research groups (about 400 researchers) belonging to 8 Autonomous Communities, which primarily research mental disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar disorder, as well as anxiety disorders, child and adolescent diseases, geriatric and neurodegenerative diseases and, in general, any neuroscientific aspect related to health and mental illness. In these roles, he gathered substantial experience in following large cohorts of schizophrenia participants over time to examine risk for poor long-term outcomes. He led the Spanish site of the multi-national EU-GEI study. He also lead the CIBERSAM Spanish first episode cohort, the largest first episode psychosis cohort with more than 3000 patients, some of them followed up for 15 years.

Dr Arango is an active member of SIRS and has served from 2012 to 2014 as Member of the SIRS Board of Directors. His other leadership role include:

2021-present Member of the Executive Committee of the World Psychiatric Association
2020-present Chairman of the National Commission of the Specialty of Psychiatry of the Spanish Ministry
2019-present President of the Spanish Society of Psychiatry of Health 2016-2020 President of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP)
2016-19 Vice Chairman of the Spanish Psychiatry Society 2014-present Fellow of the Lundbeck International Neuroscience Foundation
2014-present Member of the ERA-Net NEURON Strategic Research Group
2012-present Member of the Executive Committee of the the Neuroscience and Mental Health Area of the Gregorio Marañón Research Institute (IISGM)
2012-2014 Member of the Schizophrenia International Research Society Board of Directors 1 2022 Congress of the Schizophrenia International Research Society
2009-2013 President of the ECNP Educational Committee
2005-2013 Chair of the ECNP Child and Adolescent Neuropsychopharmacology Network
2002-present Member of the Executive Committee of the European College of Neuropsycho-pharmacology (ECNP)

Sophia Vinogradov

I am the Department Head of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at the University of Minnesota Medical School and the Donald W. Hastings Endowed Chair in Psychiatry. I was previously the Vice-Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, and the Associate Chief of Staff for Mental Health at the San Francisco VA Medical Center. I received my M.D. from Wayne State University School of Medicine, obtained my psychiatry residency training at Stanford University School of Medicine, where I served as Chief Resident, and completed a Psychiatric Neurosciences Research Fellowship at the Palo Alto VA Medical Center and Stanford University.

I direct a translational clinical neuroscience laboratory that focuses on cognitive dysfunction in psychotic disorders. I study the neuroplastic effects of cognitive training on the brain with the goal of understanding how to change brain system functioning and promote recovery. Our work focuses on young adults in early phases of psychosis, with the goal of providing intensive early interventions to ensure optimal outcomes. We have strong research collaborations with colleagues in the basic neurosciences and I co-facilitate a multi-disciplinary workgroup called Nuroplasticity Research in Support of Mental Health (NeuroPRSMH).

My work has contributed to a growing interest in the use of computerized “brain training” to treat brain information processing abnormalities. I was a participant at the past White House conference on “Video Games to Enhance Attention and Well-Being." Professional and public service have also been a key focus of my career. I am a member of the Senior Women’s Leadership Group at the Society of Biological Psychiatry and Deputy Editor of Schizophrenia Research Journal. Within my department, I lead the Clinical Neuroscience curriculum for the residency program.

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