A foremost authority on schizophrenia and a recipient of the President's National Medal of Science, Dr. Andreasen pioneered the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to identify brain mechanisms of mental illnesses. Her work was among the first to suggest that schizophrenia is linked to abnormal brain development and that a decrease in the size of the brain's frontal lobe is associated with certain symptoms of the disorder, including impaired cognitive function. She was also among the first to pioneer the integration of neuroimaging and genomics. Much of her current work focuses on genetic/genomic regulation of illness onset, course and outcome, particularly with respect to neuroimaging brain measures.
Dr. Andreasen's research has also provided insight into brain mechanisms underlying language, emotion and the creative process. She led the first extensive empirical study of creativity and was the first to recognize the association between creativity and bipolar disorder. She is currently conducting a second study of creativity in prominent artists and scientists.
Her contributions to science and to educating the lay public have been enhanced by her unusual combination of expertise in both literature and science. Her Ph.D. is in Renaissance English Literature. She has used her literary skills to write books designed to educate the lay public and to reduce stigma. Among her 15 books is a "brain trilogy" written to educate nonscientists about neuroscience, mental illness and creativity: The Broken Brain, Brave New Brain, and The Creating Brain.
She has published more than 600 scientific articles, received numerous awards and was Editor-in-Chief of The American Journal of Psychiatry for 13 years. She also served on the DSM and DSM IV Task Forces developing the first widely used scales for rating the positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia.
An "invitation only" event, Dr. Andreasen will present a pre-reception lecture at the Embassy's theater at 5 pm.
At the reception, NAMI will also present awards to members of Congress whose advocacy and leadership have made a major impact on the lives of people with mental illness.
The event in the Embassy's modern salons offers networking opportunities with a prestigious audience of past NAMI honorees, leading members of the scientific and research communities, community leaders, academia, members of Congress, political leaders and the corporate sector. Proceeds from the reception will benefit NAMI programs.
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