McGill professor wins prestigious award in psychiatric research
McGill professor Samarthji Lal is the recipient of the Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Distinguished Scientist Award for his research on schizophrenia.
Dr. Samarthji Lal, Professor of Psychiatry at McGill University in Montreal, is the 1997 recipient of the Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Distinguished Scientist Award for Schizophrenia Research. The award, in the amount of $50,000, is given each year by the Canadian Psychiatric Research Foundation to a Canadian scientist who has achieved international recognition for research into the causes, psychopathology, treatment and prevention of schizophrenia.
Born in London, England, Dr. Lal received his medical training at Guys Hospital Medical School. He came to Canada in 1962 and, after an internship at Victoria Hospital, London, Ontario, and two years of residency in psychiatry at Connecticut Valley Hospital, Connecticut, he completed his residency at McGill, graduating with distinction. He then spent four years in basic research training as a Medical Research Council Fellow in the McGill laboratory of Dr. Theodore L. Sourkes.
Dr. Lals clinical research began at the Queen Mary Veterans Hospital and subsequently continued at the Montreal General Hospital and at the Douglas Hospital. Dr. Lal is credited with introducing the use of apomorphine and clonidine as pharmacological probes to investigate brain dopamine and noradrenaline function in humans. Dr. Lals research has also focussed on the side effects of drugs used in the treatment of schizophrenia. Currently, he is investigating a largely forgotten drug, levomepromazine, in therapy of treatment-resistant schizophrenia.
Dr. Lal is one of the founding members of the Douglas Hospital Research Centre, now recognized internationally as one of Canadas leading institutions for psychiatric research. Dr. Lal played a major role in obtaining a $1.13 million dollar grant from the EJLB Foundation to set up the Centre for Research in Schizophrenia at the Douglas Hospital. The success of the Centre was a drawing card for obtaining $1.5 million dollars from the Boeckh Family Foundation to establish the Graham Boeckh Chair in Schizophrenia at McGill.
Dr. Lal is the author or co-author of more than 175 scientific publications. In 1986, he was the recipient of the Heinz Lehmann Award, conferred by the Canadian College of Neuropsychopharmacology for outstanding research contributions to neuropsychopharmacology by Canadian scientists.
Currently Dr. Lal is Acting Director of the Centre for Research in Schizophrenia, Douglas Hospital and Director of Research in Psychiatry at the Montreal General Hospital.
It is estimated that one per cent of the population will suffer from a schizophrenic episode at least one time in their lifetime. This represents approximately 300,000 Canadians.