Highlighted Sessions


Robin Emsley

Psychopharmacology within Schizophrenia

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I am a Professor Emeritus in Psychiatry in the Faculty of Medicine and Health
Sciences, University of Stellenbosch, Cape Town, South Africa. Previously, I
was Executive Head of the Department of Psychiatry for 23 years. After that I
held the Sarah Turoff Endowed Chair in Schizophrenia Research. I obtained
my medical degree (MBChB) at the University of Cape Town in 1974 and my
psychiatry degree (MMed) at the University of Stellenbosch in 1981. I received
a Doctorate in Medicine in 1987 and a Doctor of Science degree in 2007 for
studies in the psychopathology, neurobiology and psychopharmacology of
schizophrenia. My main areas of interest are in the clinical, neurobiological and
pharmacological aspects of schizophrenia. Our group has published widely in
this field. I am the Editor of the journal Schizophrenia and serve on the
Editorial Boards of Schizophrenia Research, Psychiatry Research, Early
Intervention in Psychiatry and Schizophrenia Bulletin Open. I received the
Lifetime Achievement Award of the World Federation of Societies of Biological
Psychiatry in 2021 and the Distinguished Service Award of the Schizophrenia
International Research Society in 2022.

Raquel Gur

Brain Development and Psychosis

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Sara Evans-Lacko

Stigma and Economic Determinants

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Dr. Evans-Lacko is an Associate Professorial Research Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science, Care Policy and Evaluation Centre. Her research has focused key issues of importance in global mental health particularly around the social and economic impacts of mental health problems. She approaches these issues using interdisciplinary methods which integrate insights from public health, psychiatry and economics. Her research aims to improve access to care and support for individuals with mental illness which will positively impact their long-term mental health and socio-economic outcomes. She has a PhD in Health Policy and Management, from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  

Matcheri Keshavan, MD

Cognitive Subtypes in Schizophrenia

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Dr. Keshavan is Stanley Cobb Professor of Psychiatry at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; Harvard Medical School, a position he assumed in April 2008. He is also Academic Head for the department. . Dr. Keshavan received his medical training in Mysore, India (where he graduated at the top of his University), and his psychiatric training in Bangalore (India), Vienna, London, and Detroit. In 1986, Dr. Keshavan joined the faculty at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, Pittsburgh, PA. He was appointed full tenured Professor in 1998. Between 2004 and 2008, he served as Tenured Professor and Associate Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI. 

Dr. Keshavan is closely involved in research in neurobiology of psychosis, especially as it pertains to first episode psychotic disorders. His research has resulted in over 800 publications to date, including over 600 peer-reviewed papers, 4 books, and 100 reviews/ book chapters. He has received several awards including the Gaskell Gold Medal of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (1985); Nancy Roschke Certificate for Teaching Excellence of the American Psychiatric Association in 1993; Teaching awards at the Departments of Psychiatry in Pittsburgh (1992, 1994, and 2004), Wayne State University (2008) and at Harvard (2011); the 2003 NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill) of Pennsylvania Psychiatrist of the Year Award,  the 2013 Gerard Hogarty Award for Research from the University of Pittsburgh, the 2019 Outstanding Research Award, National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) and the 2021 Clinical Research Award, Schizophrenia International Research Society. He is a distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association; a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, Canada; and a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, UK. 

Dr. Keshavan is the Editor-in-Chief of the Schizophrenia Research (Elsevier) and the Founding Editor of Asian J Psychiatry. In addition, Dr. Keshavan is often invited to speak at national and international conferences. He has several funded grants. His main areas of research include the neurodevelopmental basis of schizophrenia, neuroimaging, and early intervention. He has an active clinical practice at BIDMC.  

Padmavati Ramachandran

SCARF India – Data in Cultural Differences & Psychosis

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Completed Postgraduate Psychiatry degree at the University of Bombay, India and since then has been with the Schizophrenia Research Foundation, (SCARF) Chennai, India for over 33 years. Has been involved in several research areas like epidemiological studies, drug trials, untreated schizophrenia, culture and psychoses, metabolic disorders in mental illness. She is the co-investigator for the INTREPID II study . She has been closely involved in SCARF’s community mental health programs and the telepsychiatry project. Her key interests have been in socio-cultural aspects of Mental illnesses. She has conducted research in the areas of Stigma in mental illness and in physical comorbidities in schizophrenia. With keen interest in psychosocial rehabilitation, she has been responsible for establishing the Department of Psychosocial Rehabilitation at SCARF, which provides a needs-based psychosocial intervention program for persons accessing SCARF Clinical services for treatment and rehabilitation. She has published in a number of peer reviewed national and international journals.  She is a reviewer of many national and international psychiatric journals and is the Associate editor for the International Journal of Mental Health Systems. She serves on several Institutional Review Boards. She teaches postgraduate students of psychiatry and is  a guide for postgraduate dissertations.  


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Jari Tiihonen

Big Data and Relation to Pharmacotherapy

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Prof Tiihonen has authored 569 papers in peer-reviewed journals (567 listed in Scopus). First author in 78 papers and last author in 170 papers. His Hirsch-index (H-index) is 73 (Sep 26, 2023) and he has over 20,500 citations.  

The main topics in his scientific work in psychiatry are psychopharmacology, stem cell studies to elucidate neurobiology of schizophrenia, functional brain imaging, autoradiography studies on dopamine and serotonin receptors and transporters in the human brain, and epidemiology, genetics and neurobiology of schizophrenia, substance dependence, and violent and suicidal behavior.  

Prof Tiihonen has developed pharmacoepidemiological methodology to study real-world effectiveness of psychopharmacological treatments by using nation-wide databases, and he has also conducted several randomized controlled trials on treatment-resistant schizophrenia and substance dependence. The publications by his group have influenced treatment practices of schizophrenia worldwide, and the latest American Psychiatric Association treatment guideline (Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients with Schizophrenia, 3rd ed. 2021) has cited 8 of these publications related to pharmacological treatment of schizophrenia. 

Professor Oliver Howes BM BCh, MA, MRCPsych, PhD, DM, FMedSci

Synaptic Hypothesis of Schizophrenia

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Oliver Howes is Professor of Molecular Psychiatry at King’s and Imperial Colleges, London
and Head of the Department of Psychosis Studies. He is a Consultant Psychiatrist at The
Maudsley Hospital, where he runs a clinical service for people with psychosis. His past
industry experience includes a period as Vice President for Translational Neuropsychiatry at
Lundbeck A/v.

His research interests centre on trying to understand what underlies mental illnesses and to
develop better treatments for them. This includes the role of dopamine, GABA, glutamate,
and the immune systems. He has published over 400 scientific papers and some of these
have even been read.

His work has been recognised through a number of awards including the American College
of Neuropsychopharmacology Award for Translational Research (2022), Royal College of
Psychiatrists Researcher of the Year Award (2017), Schizophrenia International Research
Society Rising Star Award (2013), European Psychiatric Association Biological Psychiatry Prize
(2012), and the Royal Society of Medicine Psychiatry Prize (2010). Web of Science named
him as one of the most influential researchers in the world over the last decade. He was
elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2020.
Other career highlights include working as a potato scrubber on a farm. He spends his spare
time searching for the world’s best ice-cream and trying to make kimchi.

Deidre Anglin

Racism and Social Determinants of Psychosis Risk

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Deidre M. Anglin, PhD is an Associate Professor of Psychology in the Doctoral Clinical Psychology Program at The City College of the City University of New York (CUNY) with postdoctoral research training in psychiatric epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. Dr. Anglin leads several projects and mentors students in her lab designed to identify social determinants of psychosis risk in racial and ethnic minoritized populations.  She has published several papers focused on race, racism, and psychosis and the stigma of mental health service utilization in Black and Asian populations. She is currently the lead investigator of 3 federally-funded studies, one of which examines anti-Black racism and neighborhood factors among Black young people with a first episode of psychosis. She is one of the First 100 doctoral scholars in the Leadership Alliance and on the academic advisory board of the Lancet Psychiatry Commission on Psychoses in Global Context.

Raymond Chan

The Weakest Link: Anhedonia Across and Beyond the Schizophrenia Disorders

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Dr. Raymond Chan has been conducting research actively in neuropsychology and mental health, particularly in understanding cognitive deficits in patients with schizophrenia and its underlying psychopathology. Specifically, his research interests include the identification and characterisation of biomarkers or endophenotypes for schizophrenia spectrum disorders, developmental and experimental psychopathology and neurobiology of schizotypy, the cognitive, affective and social cognition deficits in these clinical groups as well as the underlying neural correlates and their normalisation with non-pharmacological interventions.

He is now a Distinguished Professor of Neuropsychology and Applied Cognitive Neuroscience at the Institute of Psychology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and holds honorary professorships at the Department of Psychiatry, the University of Hong Kong, and Shanghai Mental Health Centre. He is the elected member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts (Medicine) and the Fellow for the Association for Psychological Science (Biological Science). He has received the SIRS Global Schizophrenia Award, the Arthur Benton Mid-Career Award from International Neuropsychological Society, the Distinguished Young Scientist Award from the National Natural Science Foundation China, and Young Investigator Award from NARSAD. He is the committee member of the SIRS, the founding and steering committee member of the International Consortium on Schizotypy Research, the foundation committee member of the ENIGMA Schizotypy Working Group, the member of the International Liaison Committee member of the International Neuropsychological Society, and the committee member of the Chinese Psychological Society.

Richard Holt

The Double Burden of Diabetes and Severe Mental Illness

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Richard Holt, MA MB BChir PhD FRCP FHEA, trained at the University of Cambridge and the London Hospital Medical College. He is Professor in Diabetes and Endocrinology at the University of Southampton and an Honorary Consultant Physician in Diabetes and Endocrinology at the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust. Professor Holt’s current research interests are broadly focussed around clinical diabetes but specifically encompass studies of the relationship between mental illness and diabetes and, diabetes and pregnancy. His clinical responsibilities include the diabetes and pregnancy clinic, young adult diabetes clinic and the cystic fibrosis related diabetes service.

Professor Holt was the Editor-in-Chief of Diabetic Medicine (2016-2020) and is a past-Chair of the Council of Health Care Professionals of Diabetes UK. Professor Holt was a member of the 2008 NICE diabetes and pregnancy guideline development group and the NICE Type 2 diabetes: preventing the progression from pre-diabetes programme development group. Professor Holt is the Editor-in-Chief of the 5th edition of the Textbook of Diabetes. Professor Holt was the EASD co-chair of the EASD-ADA consensus report of the management of type 1 diabetes in adults.

Soumitra Pathare

Rights of Persons with Severe Mental Illness

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Dr. Soumitra Pathare MD MRCPsych PhD is a Consultant Psychiatrist and Director of Centre for Mental Health Law and Policy at the Indian Law Society, Pune, India. His primary interests are in the areas of mental health policy, scaling up mental health services, rights-based care and legislation. He has provided technical assistance the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India in drafting India’s new Mental Health Care Act 2017, which takes a rights-based approach to mental health care and provides for publicly funded universal mental health care. He was also a member of the Mental Health Policy Group appointed by Government of India to draft India’s first National Mental Health Policy released in October 2014. He has served as a WHO consultant in many low and middle-income countries (Botswana, Seychelles, Lesotho, Samoa, Vanuatu, Eritrea) assisting them in drafting and implementing mental health legislation and national mental health policy. He was the Principal Investigator of QualityRights Gujarat project (2014-2016) which implemented the WHO QualityRights program in 6 public mental health facilities in Gujarat.

He is currently involved in scaling up Atmiyata across Mehsana district, Gujarat with a population of 1 million. Atmiyata is a project to improve access to mental health services in rural areas, by training and mentoring women leaders of micro-credit self-help groups to provide basic psychological interventions and access to social benefits for a defined rural population. He is Project Director of SPIRIT Hub (2017-2022) a collaborative initiative of Centre for Mental Health Law and Policy ILS (Pune), TRIMBOS (Netherlands), SNEHA (Chennai) and BCCP (Bangladesh) with the Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Gujarat funded by NIMH (USA). SPIRIT is scaling up and evaluating 3 universal suicide prevention interventions in a cluster randomised controlled trial. SPIRIT also has capacity building initiatives to improve implementation research capacity in South Asia as well as the capacity of policy makers to use scientific evidence for policy-making.

Charlene Sunkel

Experts by Experience - Key Partners in Research

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Ms Sunkel is the Founder/ CEO of the Global Mental Health Peer Network ( She is a global mental health advocate with lived experience with schizophrenia. She has published internationally on issues related to mental health and human rights, stigma and the needs of people with mental illness in low- and middle-income countries. Ms Sunkel has been involved in provided technical assistance to national and international mental health related policies, reports and documents. She serves on a number of international boards and committees, and received several national and international awards for her work.

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