2021 Outstanding Translational Research Award

Cynthia Shannon Weickert named SIRS 2021 Outstanding Translational Research Awardee

The Schizophrenia International Research Society has named Cynthia Shannon Weickert, one of the 2021 Outstanding Translational Research Awardee. Prof Cyndi Shannon Weickert is dedicated to helping those suffering from schizophrenia. Prof Shannon Weickert obtained a BA in Biology and Psychology from Keuka College in upstate New York, and earned a PhD in Biomedical Science from Mount Sinai Medical School in New York City.

Currently, Prof Shannon Weickert leads a translational research program at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) that uses insights from the molecular and cellular neurodevelopment of schizophrenia to design and test novel treatments for people with the condition. Her work has broad impact beyond psychiatry including examining molecular mechanisms by which hormones and growth factors cooperate to control gene expression and experimental examination of how sex hormones impact social development in adolescence. She has made pivotal contributions to the conceptualization of schizophrenia as a neurodevelopmental disorder and is best known for her pioneering work on brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) and oestrogen receptor. Prof Shannon Weickert has delivered 132 papers and lectures worldwide. She is Macquarie Group Foundation Chair of Schizophrenia Research, a joint position between NeuRA, UNSW and Schizophrenia Research Institute.

A Message from Outstanding Translational Research Awardee, Cynthia Shannon Weickert

A Message from Dame Til Wykes, SIRS President

This year we had two outstanding candidates for our Translation Research Award. I am very pleased to announce that Cynthia Shannon Weickert (or Cyndi as we know her) has been presented with this award for her work on studying factors that modify neurodevelopment, such as hormones, growth factors, neurogenesis and genetic influences that may contribute to schizophrenia. She was one of the first to describe a deficit in the GABAergic cells in the cortex in schizophrenia, which is now one on the most highly replicated findings in the neuropathology of schizophrenia. For those of us that keep an eye on replication, This is definitely something to be celebrated.

She has written over 200 papers on schizophrenia, many of them milestone articles and her work was recognized earlier in SIRS through an invitation to give a plenary lecture. This gave all of us to see the Cyndi that is driven by the science, but also by her humanity. Cyndi currently sits on our Diversity Taskforce and has been secretary of SIRS. We look forward to her involvement over the next few years and of course watching the science grow. Congratulations Cyndi.

A Message from Iris Sommer, Dr. Med. Sc.


Professor Shannon-Weickert is a colorful, outspoken and friendly colleague who has inspired us all. She relentlessly investigates the molecular and cellular underpinning of schizophrenia. Her creative work and deep understanding of the brain have provided the fundaments for new concepts and hence new treatment strategies to help patients.

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