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Prof Carmine Pariante receives PNIRS Norman Cousins Award

Professor Carmine Pariante has received the prestigious Psychoneuroimmunology Research Society (PNIRS) Norman Cousins Award, the highest honour given by the Society to an individual, for outstanding contributions to research in psychoneuroimmunology. The PNIRS is an international organisation working to understand the role of the brain and immune system in health, and how basic research at the interface between the brain and the immune system can be translated into clinically relevant health applications.

Professor Tony David, Vice-Dean of Academic Psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), said: “I am delighted to congratulate Carmine Pariante on this prestigious award. It really is the Gold Medal of Psychoneuroimmunology! Carmine is a rare psychiatrist who is as at home in the lab as he is in the clinic. It is through the work of people like him and his research group at the IoPPN that we are most likely to make real breakthroughs in psychiatry research and this will inspire a new generation of clinical researchers to follow him.”

Carmine Pariante added: “It is an absolute honour to receive this award. I wrote my first paper on psychoneuroimmunology in 1991 for my medical degree thesis in Italy, and I attended my first PNIRS conference as a junior researcher in 1996. At that time PNI was perceived still as a niche area, and so it is amazing to be recognised today as one of the leaders of the ‘PNI revolution’. Now, the connection between the immune system and mental health is not only accepted, but also identified as one of the most important areas for the development of novel therapeutic approaches.”

Professor Pariante’s work is focused on solving how early-life events, including in the perinatal period, contribute to mental health in later life, and has significant implications for medical care. For instance, his research has shown that early-life trauma can increase the activity of the immune system in adults, and that this immune activation in turn reduces the effect of psychiatric treatment in adults. He is also investigating whether anti-inflammatory medications can help people with depression who do not respond to classic antidepressants. More information on how to participate in his research can be found here

Professor Andrew H. Miller, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Director of Behavioral Immunology at the Winship Cancer Institute, Emory University (Atlanta, USA), noted: “Carmine’s work is incredibly innovative and will lead psychiatry into the future, with novel treatments for those who have been left behind by our current treatment regimens. His body of work is truly extraordinary and comprises a host of studies from molecules to man. Most importantly, he embodies the spirit of creativity and passion that Norman Cousins embraced and espoused”.

The award will be presented at the 2017 PNIRS Scientific Meeting, held June 7–10 in Galveston, Texas. The annual meeting will host hundreds of international researchers from a number of scientific and medical disciplines who are interested in interactions between the nervous and immune systems, and the relationship between behaviour and health. Following his award, Professor Pariante will describe his innovative research idea in an invited lecture.

For further media information please contact Jack Stonebridge, Press Officer, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London 07718697176.