Annual Meeting

Members' Meetups


Welcome Message from Jordan Smoller, President of ISPG

2023 was a year of growth and progress for the ISPG. Our 2023 World Congress, our first in North America since 2019, brought nearly 800 attendees and showcased some of the most innovative and rigorous science in the field of psychiatric genetics. It was also the year that began our implementation of the first ISPG Strategic Plan, including a reorganization and revitalization of our ISPG committees. We also established a partnership with the journal Psychiatric Genetics that will provide additional benefits to members including opportunities for editorial roles and discounted subscription rates. We’re so grateful for the extraordinary dedication and work contributed by our leadership, members and partners at Parthenon to make this all happen. In this issue of the newsletter, we highlight some of the exciting changes that these efforts have brought to ISPG and some of the new ways that ISPG members can get involved and help shape the future of psychiatric genetics. 2024 is an important year for ISPG with elections for a new Board and Officers. Look out for announcements next month.

UPDATE: Membership:

New Policy

WCPG 2023 Montreal Wrap-up

ISPG members recently voted to change the society’s bylaws, making membership fees separate from World Congress fees, and allowing us to invest more resources into expanding our member benefits without increasing the cost of conference registration.

Brace yourself for an exciting journey ahead!

In accordance with the new bylaws, it is time to renew your 2024 ISPG membership.

The annual cost to renew your membership is 75.00 USD for regular membership and 50.00 USD for students.

ISPG has a calendar year-based membership and upon renewal, your membership will be effective through December 31, 2024. But wait... if you attended the 2023 WCPG Conference, you have already paid your dues and your membership is active until December 31, 2024.

  • Membership benefits now include:
  • Access to WCPG registration discounts, 
  • Members only recorded content, including WCPG session recordings, previous Members’ Meetups, Webinars, and much more.
  • Annual Members’ Meetup virtual event
  • Reduced subscription rate for our new journal partner, Psychiatric Genetics
  • and much more!

Renew now or learn more:

Membership Page

Links to  recordings of talks from WCPG 2023 are now available on the members section of the ISPG website (www.ispg.net/portal). 

Links to recordings of all talks from WCPG 2022 in Florence will be available under the Resources tab on the ISPG website.


On December 14, 2023, PacBio hosted a webinar for ISPG members on long-read sequencing. The session covered advancements in genomics and transcriptomics research using PacBio's HiFi sequencing technology. Experts explained HiFi sequencing's impact on genomics and transcriptomics, emphasizing its accuracy and reliability. The webinar also introduced PacBio's Kinnex kits for RNA sequencing, detailing their advantages.

To watch the recording, visit our YouTube channel [https://youtu.be/4jW98xSJZeM].

Save the Date

Singapore 15-19 October, 2024

You are warmly invited to join the World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics 2024 in Singapore, October 15-19, 2024. Save the date, and support ISPG in taking the WCPG to Asia for the first time since 2008. The theme of WCPG 2024 is “Psychiatric Genetics in a Diverse World.”

More Info - Coming Soon



Early Career Investigator Program Committee

Education Committee

Ethics, Position, and Public Policy

Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity in Action Committee

Membership Committee

*WCPG Program Committee

*invitation needed

Joining a committee is the best first step for getting involved in ISPG. ISPG committees comprise volunteers willing to contribute time to help make ISPG a valuable society for all members.

We would like to invite members to apply for committee membership. ISPG committees are limited to 20 people including the Chair. From 2024 ISPG committee chairs will be ISPG Board Members.

To apply, email us at [email protected] by February 28th with a 1-page document giving your 1) name, 2) affiliation, 3) career stage, 4) which committee(s) you would like to join 5) a statement about why you are a good fit for the committee.

We encourage you to apply!

Here is an update from each of our ISPG committees, including opportunities for members to join:

Learn More

Membership Committee

The membership committee was formed in 2022 to oversee activities associated with ISPG membership in response to the 2021 strategic planning outcome. The membership committee is integral to the functioning of ISPG and is co-chaired by Jehannine Austin (ISPG Vice President) and Naomi Wray (ISPG secretary). After one year in operation we have implemented a structure within the committee and now have sub-groups providing leadership for each activity. For example, the Members’ Meetup team, led by Jessica Dennis is busy planning the 2024 program, David Howard is leading ISPG communications, Kimberley Kendall and Karmel Choi are sourcing ISPG highlights for the newsletter. We are keen to recruit 4 new members to join us (monthly online meetings) and particularly welcome applications from ISPG members from LMIC (lower/middle income countries) and/or those with a talent in social media communications.

Early Career Investigator Program Committee (ECIP)

The ECIP has been the heart of our Society’s commitment to supporting the careers of early investigators and trainees. This committee is dedicated to serving students and researchers who are within the first 5 years of their terminal degrees and is led by co-chairs Sarah Bergen (Board member) and Marina Mihaljevic. The committee has long been responsible for selecting travel awardees and poster/oral presentation finalists and pairing them with experienced mentors. The committee’s scope has now expanded to provide year-round benefits over the past year. For example, we enhanced the mentorship program by developing guidelines for mentors and have extended this mentorship beyond the conference duration. Moreover, during the conference, we introduced a dedicated lounge space exclusively for early career researchers and organized a pub night aimed at facilitating networking and enriching the WCPG experience for all early career investigators.

Education Committee

The “Residency Education Committee” was renamed the “Education Committee” in 2021 to reflect the ISPG mission to provide genetics education to all its members equally. Consistent with this new mission, the Education Committee is developing a global survey in multiple languages to assess genetics knowledge in all different clinicians within the field of mental health, including psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, psychiatric genetic counselors, and community mental health providers. We are additionally working on creating updated recommendations for what all mental health clinicians should know about genetics. Our committee is working on updating the education resources provided on the ISPG website for geneticists to learn about psychiatry and psychiatrists to learn about genetics, both on a clinical and research level.

Ethics, Position, & Public Policy Committee

The Ethics Committee is proud to support a new open-membership special interest group on Stigma Reduction in 2024 that aims to increase awareness of lived experience and address stigma in the context of psychiatric genetics. We are also drafting a roadmap, in collaboration with the IDEA Committee, for equitable collaboration in research between high-income and low- to middle-income countries. Early career and LMIC researchers are especially encouraged to contribute. Other highlights include a focus in 2024 on ongoing ethical concerns in genetic testing and public engagement. Please stay tuned for an update on open EPPP membership spots in the new year.

Inclusion Diversity and Equity in Action (IDEA) Committee

This year the IDEA Committee aims to establish regional ‘cultural member ambassadors’ with a view to expanding global membership and inclusion of members from low- and middle-income countries in ISPG activities. In addition, we plan to work on balancing different aspects of diversity (e.g., women in science, LGBTQIA+ communities, global diversity) and would like to take the lead in setting up affinity groups within ISPG, and profile and celebrate researchers from diverse communities and across different career stages. IDEA will work with the Education Committee to create new (and enhance existing) educational/training initiatives to overcome socio-economic and geographic barriers for existing and prospective ISPG members, including the translation and dissemination of scientific and other society resources (e.g. policy statements). In partnership with the Membership and Program Committees, we would like to conduct an analysis of diversity across key domains of past and current membership, leadership, and conference attendees and speakers in order to identify trends.

Psychiatric Genetics

ISPG started a partnership with Psychiatric Genetics in October 2023. As part of this partnership, Psychiatric Genetics will showcase research achievements of ISPG members and offer opportunities for ISPG members to join its editorial board. Psychiatric Genetics publishes original research reports, brief reports, conference reports, and book reviews on genetic factors contributing to psychiatric and neurologic disorders. More information about the journal can be found here.

        Two ISPG members will be nominated to the Psychiatric Genetics Editorial Board and two early investigator ISPG members (within the last 10 years of the terminal degree) will be nominated to the Psychiatric Genetics Junior Editorial Board. Each has a one-year tenure. We would like to invite members to apply for these positions. To apply, e-mail us at [email protected] by February 28th with a 1-page document giving your 1) name, 2) affiliation, 3) career stage, 4) which editorial board you would like to join 5) a statement about why you are a good fit for the position.

        ISPG members are eligible for a reduced subscription rate to Psychiatric Genetics. It is $25/year (compared to $177/year for non-ISPG members). To sign up, please use this link

Sign Up

Other News

Members’ Meetups are back in 2024!

ISPG is excited to host the second annual Members' Meetups.

This program was created by members for members and will feature weekly sessions organized by our committees. These sessions are only available to current ISPG members and will be recorded and available on-demand.

To register for a session, please login to your ISPG Member Portal by clicking here and clicking on "2024 Members' Meetup - REGISTER HERE." - a full list of sessions will be found in the Member Portal as well.

We are looking forward to this series and the opportunities it will afford us to connect, share information, and learn from one another. If you have any questions, please contact the ISPG Executive Office at [email protected].

The program kicks off on February 12, 2024 with our President, Jordan Smoller and other members of the Board describing their roles at ISPG and how the election process will work this year.”

Members in the Spotlight

Dr. Kaarina Kowalec

How long have you been a member of ISPG? Since 2017

How has ISPG membership helped you/benefitted your career? 

I did my PhD in genomics of a non-psychiatric disorder; ISPG has provided many opportunities to expand my knowledge of genomics into psychiatry and create collaborative projects.

If you could do any other job, what would it be and why? 

After learning more about psychiatric disorders, I would be a clinical psychologist so that I could have a greater clinical impact.

What is one piece of advice you would give to a PhD student? 

Towards the end of your PhD, look for opportunities to expand your knowledge further by investigating a different disease, different modeling system or skill. This is an excellent time to be push your knowledge, before you start your first ‘real’ job where your time will become more limited. 

What is your favorite part of your job? 

I love how multi-faceted academia is; on a given day, I could train students, run R code or a GWAS, write a grant, or present at a conference. I am truly lucky to work in academia and with amazing people.

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