Clinton D. Kilts, PhD, professor and vice chair for research in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University School of Medicine, will be the first holder of the Dr. Paul Janssen Chair of Neuropsychopharmacology at Emory. The endowed chair and Dr. Kilts' appointment were announced Wednesday by Thomas J. Lawley, MD, dean of Emory University School of Medicine and Janet Vergis, president of Janssen, L.P., which endowed the chair.
As Janssen Professor, Dr. Kilts will help advance the leadership position of Emory's Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in the study of neuropharmacological mechanisms of drug actions. Dr. Kilts will expand his investigations into the mechanisms and pharmacological treatment of drug addiction, schizophrenia and other disabling mental illnesses.
Dr. Kilts received his PhD from the Department of Pharmacology at Michigan State University. He completed his postgraduate training in neuropharmacology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was previously a member of the departments of psychiatry and pharmacology at Duke University before coming to Emory in 1992.
Dr. Kilts' current research focuses on functional brain imaging and behavioral genetics. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), Dr. Kilts has spent many years studying the physical manifestations of cognition and the brain's response to rewards and punishment, specifically its functioning in people with addictions or other cognitive diseases and disorders. Functional MRI can highlight subtle changes in the brain during different disease states and also the changes that correspond to various thoughts and emotions.
"Dr. Kilts has already completed work of national importance in his field using functional brain imaging to study the brain at work," said Charles B. Nemeroff, MD, PhD, chair of Emory's Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. "This is exciting, uncharted territory, at the intersection of mind and brain, where motivation, emotion and addiction arise. The more we know about the actual physical working of the brain, the closer we are to developing new and more effective interventions for diseases."
On presenting the award to Dr. Kilts, Ms. Vergis said, "Dr. Paul Janssen was an innovator, an intellectual and an entrepreneur who provided tremendous vision. In endowing this chair in his name, we will allow his legacy to continue in the great work of Dr. Clint Kilts, and those who will follow."
Dr. Paul Janssen was a leading Belgian researcher, pharmacologist and physician who founded Janssen Pharmaceutica in 1953. Janssen, L.P., a Johnson & Johnson company, is the only U.S. pharmaceutical company that focuses exclusively on mental health. Among Dr. Janssen's many achievements were the synthesis of haloperidol (Haldol), the first antipsychotic medication that allows patients to be treated at home instead of in institutions; fentanyl, among the most widely used anesthetics in the world; and risperidone, still considered one of the largest milestones in the treatment of schizophrenia.