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Robin Murray Research Centre opens in Sao Paulo, Brazil

JULY 03, 2008

A new research support facility for study into genetics and brain imaging, the ‘Instituto de Psiquiatria’ in Sao Paulo Brazil, has been named after Robin Murray, Professor of Psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London. 

The centre also carries out work into the epidemiological aspects of mental disorders and clinical studies testing new pharmacological, psychological and psychosurgical treatment strategies for psychiatric disorders.

The Centro de Apoio à Pesquisa "Robin Murray" was officially opened at a ceremony attended by Professors Valentim Gentil, Helio Elkis (Head of the Department of Psychiatry), and Wagner Gattaz, Chairman of the Board of the Instituto de Psiquiatria, Sao Paulo, and Professor Euripedes Miguel, Coordinator of the Research Centre on the 29 May 2008.

Professor Murray has worked with the Departamento & Instituto Psiquiatria for the past twenty two years and was first invited to visit the department back in 1986 by Professors Jose Roberto de Albuquerque Fortes and Valentim Gentil, to help evaluate its potential for developing research.   

The British Council and the State of Sao Paulo’s FAPESP have jointly sponsored several short-term visits from IoP professionals to Sao Paulo.  Other collaborations included joint research projects, as well as enabling many post-graduate students and post-doctoral professionals from Sao Paulo and other Brazilian States to study at the Institute of Psychiatry in London. 

Professor Murray was appointed several years ago as Visiting Professor of the Departmento de Psiquiatria, by the Congregation of the University of Sao Paulo Medical School, which continues to this day.  As well as giving several key note lectures to science conferences held in Sao Paulo, Professor Murray was invited by the Rectory of the University of Sao Paulo to evaluate the research and teaching activities for its Neurology and Psychiatry Departments.  

Over the past two decades, three important research projects on psychiatric diagnosis, molecular genetics of psychosis and post-partum psychoses were undertaken and published under this collaborative link. Since March 2006, collaboration on First-onset Psychoses in London and Sao Paulo has been underway, with the project being run by Paulo Menezes and Geraldo Busatto in Brazil

Although the patterns of brain abnormalities as assessed with magnetic resonance imaging were similar between the two countries, the researchers found no evidence of progression over the first 15 months after the onset of the illness in Sao Paulo, a somewhat unexpected finding. The Sao Paulo and London research groups are now carrying out joint studies following up this cohort of patients five years after the onset of the disorder. 

Professor Valentim Gentil commented on the opening: ‘It was a great pleasure to have Professor Murray at the Instituto de Psiquiatria in May for the opening of the new Research Support Centre.  He has always been very enthusiastic about psychiatric research in Sao Paulo and other Brazilian universities, and we have greatly benefited from his extensive knowledge and kind leadership over years of scientific collaboration.  

‘It is very fitting to name our Centre after this eminent clinician and researcher, who has this particularly important ability to identify, help implement, and support critical initiatives in psychiatric research not only in Britain and  in Brazil, but also in other parts of  the  World . An outstanding leader and role model for the new generation’.
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