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Researchers and Advocate to Receive Top Honors at International Conference on Bipolar Disorder

PITTSBURGH, June 7, 2011 - At the Ninth International Conference on Bipolar Disorder this week in Pittsburgh, three distinguished individuals will be honored for their contributions to bipolar disorder research, education and service.

Mark A. Frye, M.D., will receive the Mogens Schou Award for Education and Advocacy. Dr. Frye is chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology and director of the Integrated Mood Group at the Mayo Clinic, where his clinical interests include mood disorders with a research focus on clinical trials, pharmacogenomics and brain imaging. Dr. Frye serves on the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance and is the vice president of global outreach for the International Society of Bipolar Disorder.

Marion Leboyer, M.D., Ph.D., will receive the Mogens Schou Award for Research. Dr. Leboyer is the head of the Department of Psychiatry, Hospital Chenevier-Mondor, and the psychiatry genetics laboratory (INSERM) in Paris, France, where her research has contributed to  better identification of relevant phenotype for genetic studies, particularly in the fields of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, suicide, autism, OCD and pharmacogenetics. As the principal investigator of national and international studies, she has produced prominent findings such as identification in autism of the first mutations in neuroligins (NLGN-3 and NLGN-4). Dr. Leboyer also is director of FondaMental, a foundation recently created by the French Ministry of Research aimed at creating a network of expert centers and promoting research in psychiatry.

Muffy Walker, M.S., will receive the Mogens Schou Award for Public Service for founding the International Bipolar Foundation after her youngest son was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Since then, Ms. Walker has dedicated the past 10 years of her life to championing the education of the public about mental illness. Over the years, she has served on the boards of her local Children's Hospital, Kids Korps USA, NeighborHelp and ChildHelp USA. Ms. Walker earned her Master of Science in psychiatric nursing from the University of Pennsylvania and worked in the mental health field for over 18 years until she obtained her M.B.A. with a focus in marketing from the University of California-Irvine.

“This year’s Mogens Schou Awards continue the strong tradition of honoring those heroes who are making major advances that bring hope to those suffering from bipolar disorder,” said David J. Kupfer, M.D., the Thomas P. Detre Professor of Psychiatry and Professor of Neuroscience and Clinical and Translational Science, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

The Mogens Schou Awards were named in recognition and appreciation of Mogens Schou, M.D., Dr. Med. Sci., past president, International Society of Bipolar Disorders, and emeritus professor, The Psychiatric Hospital, Risskov, Denmark. Prior to his death in 2005, his groundbreaking research over 50 years ago proved lithium’s significant mood-stabilizing effects for the treatment of bipolar disorders. The awards ceremony takes place at 7:30 p.m., Friday, June 10, at The Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh in Oakland.

The Ninth International Conference on Bipolar Disorder, which is being sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC, is the only venue in the world devoted exclusively to highlighting new research into bipolar disorder. The disease affects both adults and children, devastates families and work relationships, accounts for nearly half of all suicides in the United States, and costs billions in medical bills, missed work and lower productivity.

For more information on the meeting, visit www.9thbipolar.org

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