In Memoriam

In Memoriam: Professor Don Linszen

Many SIRS members have good memories of the many meetings with prof. dr. Don Linszen, who passed away unexpectedly at the age of 76. Don was a pioneer in the treatment of young people with psychosis, for whom he started a special treatment program, which at that time was unique in the Netherlands. His treatment program was one of the first to provide a holistic view, aiming to improve not only mental health, but also social and personal well-being.

He was an excellent scientist who contributed on so many aspects of psychosis treatment and understanding. For example, he was among the first to investigate the complex bidirectional relationships between cannabis use and vulnerability to develop schizophrenia. He provided many leads to understanding which factors influence the transition from at-risk state to early psychosis. Social and biological factors were investigated with the same vigor. As an active member of the Dutch GROUP consortium, he helped to gather and analyse a unique first episode cohort, which shed new light on important domains like cognition, substance abuse, social functioning and well-being. He was also an adventurer, who travelled to Tanzania to discover the roots of “old genes” potentially important for psychosis. Don is probably most well-known for his excellent skills in mentoring young doctors and researchers in the Netherlands and beyond and inspiring them to dedicate their career to better understanding and treatment of early psychosis. Don led the Amsterdam psychosis treatment program, that fostered many talented schizophrenia researchers like prof. dr. Therese van Amelsvoort, prof. dr. Lieuwe de Haan, and dr. Dorien Nieman. His son, David Linszen, has worked alongside his father in an early intervention team for psychosis, while his daughter, Mascha Linszen, is a psychiatry resident and also active in the field of psychosis research, so that the name Linszen will continue to provide important contributions to the SIRS community and to the understanding of schizophrenia.


In Memoriam: Professor Julian Leff

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Professor Julian Leff. A symposium has been organized on 26 May in honour of Professor Julian Leff. Register at Please see the In Memoriam posted by the World Psychiatric Association at WPA In Memoriam.


In Memoriam: Niki Erlenmeyer-Kimling, PhD

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Niki Erlenmeyer-Kimling. Dr. Erlenmeyer-Kimling mentored many SIRS members, and inspired countless more, with her scientific rigor, generativity, and generosity of spirit. She was a pioneering scientist in experimental behavioral genetics and genetic high-risk studies. A true role model in science for more than a half a century, she was awarded the William K. Warren Schizophrenia Research Award from ICOSR in 1995. Please see the obituary posted by NY Times at


In Memoriam: Deborah L. Levy, PhD

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Dr. Deborah Levy, Director of the Psychology Research Laboratory at McLean Hospital and Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School. Dr. Levy was a brilliant scientist, longtime member of the Schizophrenia International Research Society (SIRS), and collaborator to many. Beginning in the 1970’s she became known for her pioneering studies with Philip Holzman investigating the genetics of schizophrenia in multiplex families and showing that abnormal smooth-pursuit eye tracking was a genetic marker for schizophrenia. She later continued to develop this valuable family resource for use in studies of various candidate gene mutations and mechanisms underlying schizophrenia.  Dr. Levy was a mentor to many fellow SIRS members as well as served on numerous SIRS committees. Please see the in memoriam posted by McLean hospital at


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