Vince Calhoun Awarded the 2021 Outstanding Translational Research Award
The Schizophrenia International Research Society has named Vince Calhoun, M.A., M.S., Ph.D. as one of the 2021 Outstanding Translational Research Awardee. Dr. Calhoun is founding director of the tri-institutional Center for Translational Research in Neuroimaging and Data Science (TReNDS) and a Georgia Research Alliance eminent scholar in brain health and image analysis where he holds appointments at Georgia State University, Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University. He was previously the President of the Mind Research Network and Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of New Mexico. He is the author of more than 850 full journal articles and over 850 technical reports, abstracts and conference proceedings. His work includes the development of flexible methods to analyze functional magnetic resonance imaging data such as independent component analysis (ICA), deep learning for neuroimaging, data fusion of multimodal imaging and genetics data, neuroinformatics tools, and the identification of biomarkers for disease. His research is funded by the NIH and NSF among other funding agencies. Dr. Calhoun is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, The American Association for the Advancement of Science, The American Institute of Biomedical and Medical Engineers, The American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, and the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. He served as the chair for the Organization for Human Brain Mapping from 2018-2019 and is a past chair of the IEEE Machine Learning for Signal Processing Technical Committee. He currently serves on the IEEE BISP Technical Committee and is also a member of IEEE Data Science Initiative Steering Committee as well as the IEEE Brain Technical Committee. He also serves on the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives.
A Message from Dame Til Wykes, SIRS President
The outstanding translational research contribution to schizophrenia research this year has been awarded to two SIRS members who have made significant contributions. One of these is Dr. Vince Calhoun who is a pioneer in using neuroimaging to study schizophrenia and is the founding director of the translational research in neuroimaging and data science (TReNDS) Center at GSU, Emory and Gatech. His membership increases our diversity in scientific backgrounds as he is an Electrical Engineer by training. He arrived as Professor at Georgia State via Albuquerque, Yale, The Institute of Living, Johns Hopkins and the University of Kansas and still has associations with these and other universities.
Dr. Calhoun has a long list of firsts. The first to study default mode network disruptions in schizophrenia, the first to identify multimodal markers of schizophrenia, the first to develop individualized prediction approaches based on whole brain functional brain networks, and the first to study whole brain dynamic connectivity. His contribution to translational research is also well recognised by people in the field. But, just as importantly, he is also someone who contributes to the whole community through freely sharing the analytic tools he develops, and they are now widely used.
When asked where his research is heading, he said that it was towards future clinical impact – an aspiration we hope that all SIRS members are working towards. His answer to the question of what he is proud of, the answer wasn’t all work – it includes his wife and children, especially the oldest who is applying to College during a pandemic. We wish him (and his potential college student) well and look forward to the further clinical breakthrough we are sure he will make.
A Message from Juan Bustillo, M.D.
Dr. Calhoun is a pioneer in use of neuroimaging to study schizophrenia and is founding director of the translational research in neuroimaging and data science (TReNDS) Center at GSU, Emory and Gatech. He has a long list of ‘firsts’ including being the first to study default mode network disruptions in schizophrenia, the first to identify multimodal markers of schizophrenia, the first to develop individualized prediction approaches based on whole brain functional brain networks, and the first to study whole brain dynamic connectivity. The analytic tools he developed have been freely shared and widely used by many others in the community.
A Message from Vince Calhoun, Outstanding Translational Research Awardee
I am incredibly honored to receive the SIRS 2021 Honorific Award for Excellence in Translational Research. I have been studying schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders with neuroimaging tools for over 20 years now (how time flies!). Schizophrenia is a devastating and very complex disorder which has a lifetime impact. This has driven my work based on finding ways to try to translate the research we are doing to eventual tools which might have clinical impact. One of the main motivations for me is to maximize the information we extract from the data. As someone who was trained as an electrical engineer and emphasized, early on, data-driven approaches to neuroimaging, I constantly ask myself “what are we missing” or “how might we be misled” when we analyze the high-dimensional neuroimaging data. And as someone who has had experience with mental illness in my family, the person dimension and import of moving our field forward has had a profound impact. I strongly believe that the greatest innovation happens at the boundaries of fields and though we have struggled for years with the hope of a simple answer to schizophrenia, it is becoming clear that we still have a way to go though progress is being made as we continue to learn new information about how schizophrenia impacts multimodal brain networks and inter-network communication at a dizzying pace. Notably, we are now able to study large enough data sets that we can see with some regularity, replicable and reliable differences across studies and cohorts as well as their gradual transition from early to later-stage illness. This of course is still an early step in the process, and needs to be complemented by the hard work of linking to mechanisms (which continues to become more powerful with available in-scanner brain stimulation tools and dynamic analysis approaches) and hopefully to provide clues about treatment strategies. I do think, even now, there is opportunity for us to beginning to develop incremental approaches such as prediction of medication response or stratification of individuals to maximize the benefit of available treatments. There are of course a lot of barriers still to topple, however I also believe as technology, data, and analytic approaches have advanced we have more opportunity than ever to move the needle on mental illness. I end with a quote from one of my favorite authors, CS Lewis: “I have learned now that while those who speak about one’s miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.” We must never forget that folks are hurting and it is one of my greatest honors to receive this award which recognizes the need to translate the research we are doing from the bench to the bedside.