SOBP Fall 2020 Newsletter
Letter From The Editor

Hello everyone,
We are now drawing closer to our 2021 SOBP Annual Meeting to be held April 29 – May 1. The theme of the meeting is “Variability and Scale in Psychiatric Neuroscience: How You Seek Determines What You Find”. Plenary sessions and speakers have been posted. There is still time to submit oral and poster abstracts by the December 1 deadline. Registration for the meeting begins in December. 

How you seek determines what you find, may also be a generalizable theme for the history of psychiatry. In this edition of the newsletter, I provide a brief history behind the Somerfeld-Ziskind Award. I searched the literature and the archives of Biological Psychiatry to learn about the origins of this annual award and the lives of the two individuals it is named for. Despite the massive and exponential proliferation of published papers in contemporary psychiatry, information that we often feel compelled to keep up with, it is still important to look back in time to see what our predecessors found and what methods of seeking they used.

As 2020 draws to a close, I wish all of you well. Let us hope that 2021 brings not only an end to the pandemic that is affecting all of us personally and professionally, but also brings a renewed dedication to the concept of truth.

Best wishes,

Robert H. Howland, M.D.
Associate Professor of Psychiatry
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital
SOBP looks forward to seeing our attendees and participants at the SOBP 2021 Annual Meeting in San Diego, California.

Diversity in Participants
Symposium participants should include scientists and/or clinicians who are women, underrepresented minorities, and/or individuals with disabilities. In addition, symposia should attempt to include individuals who are at an early career stage.

Diversity in Scientific Content
The SOBP strongly supports diversity in the scientific content of symposia and seeks symposia that address important understudied factors (e.g., sex- and gender-based analyses, vulnerabilities and treatment gaps for minority populations, etc.) in psychiatric neuroscience.

Important Dates*:
Oral and Poster Abstracts December 11, 2020
Late Breaking Poster Abstracts February 11, 2021
SOBP Somerfeld-Ziskind Award

In 1990, a grant from the Ziskind-Somerfeld Research Foundation was made to the SOBP to establish the Ziskind-Somerfeld Research Award (also referred to as the Somerfeld-Ziskind Research Award). This annual award was to be offered in either basic or clinical research for the purpose of stimulating investigations in biological psychiatry. The co-winners of the first award, announced at the May 1991 annual meeting, were Sofia Avissar and Gabriel Schreiber, and their co-authored paper on the involvement of guanine nucleotide binding proteins in affective disorders was published in Biological Psychiatry in March 1992.

The Ziskind-Somerfeld Research Foundation was named for the husband and wife clinical and research “team” of Eugene Ziskind and Esther Somerfeld-Ziskind. Esther and Eugene met during their undergraduate years at the University of Chicago, attended Rush Medical College, and then pursued post-graduate training in Los Angeles, where they married in 1928.

Eugene was born in 1900 and received his medical degree in 1924. He began in 1925 what was then informal training in neurology (before an official neurology residency existed) at the Los Angeles County General Hospital, an era where there was a relative emphasis on combined neurological and psychiatric training. He was instrumental in combining neurology and neurosurgery services at LACGH, later serving as department chairs at County-USC Medical Center and at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital (now Cedars-Sinai Medical Center), both affiliated with the University of Southern California College of Medicine. 

Esther, born a year after Eugene, received her medical degree in 1925. During her school years in Chicago, Esther worked as a secretary and as a manuscript editor for the Journal of the American Medical Association. She interned at LACGH, completed residency training in pediatrics at Los Angeles Children’s Hospital, and then joined Eugene for additional training in neurology and psychiatry. In 1934, Esther completed a master’s program in psychology at the University of California at Los Angeles. She was a faculty member at the USC Medical College, serving as chair of the psychiatry department at Cedars during the 1940s.

During his career, Eugene published more than 140 papers on epilepsy and psychiatric disorders, including psychophysiologic studies of sociopathy, sensory deprivation investigations, the effects of insulin shock in epilepsy and psychiatric disorders, and the therapeutic use of chemically-induced convulsions (with Metrazol) and electrically-induced convulsions in patients with epilepsy, affective psychoses, and schizophrenia. He published a well-regarded book, entitled Psychophysiologic Medicine, in 1954. 

From the 1930s through the early 1950s, Esther was lead author or co-author with Eugene on many of these papers. In later years, she published book reviews in the American Journal of Psychiatry and JAMA. In a 1994 JAMA review of a book on motor disorder in psychiatry, she stated “Now that psychoanalysis is on the wane, inevitably earlier opinions in psychiatry will resurface”, prompting an irate letter to the editor.  

While also collaborating on clinical research, the couple established their own private practice in psychiatry and later set up a free community psychiatric clinic. They were notable for introducing group psychotherapy to the southern California region, which Esther taught at USC. It is interesting to note that Eugene, a consummate biological psychiatrist, published three papers on psychotherapy, two of which advocated psychotherapy training for all physicians. He died in 1993, having received a number of awards during his career, including the George N. Thompson Award from the SOBP in 1987. Esther, also the recipient of several awards, never fully retired, and she continued to see patients until the last year of her life. She died at the ripe old age of 101.
Great news! Biological Psychiatry: Global Open Science is now accepting submissions. Click here to start your submission today!

As we all struggle with adjusting to a new normal due to the COVID-19 virus and the needed social distancing, Biological Psychiatry and Biological Psychiatry: CNNI have organized leading investigators in the field to create 5-10 minute podcasts. These podcasts will be made available through the Society of Biological Psychiatry’s website, Biological Psychiatry and social media. LEARN MORE
Membership has its benefits! Don't forget to renew your 2021 SOBP Membership by logging into the SOBP website, updating your profile and paying your membership dues. 
For a current list of members, click here
Benefits of membership include:
  • Biological Psychiatry is one of the most selective and highly cited journals in the field of psychiatric neuroscience. It is ranked 7th out of 155 Psychiatry titles and 12th out of 271 Neurosciences titles in the 2019 ISI Journal Citations Reports® published by Clarivate Analytics. The 2019 Impact Factor score for Biological Psychiatry is 12.095. Biological Psychiatry is also the 1st ranked psychiatry journal according to Google Scholar (July 2020). 
  • Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging (BP:CNNI) This online journal was launched in January 2016, led by its founding editor, Cameron S. Carter. This new journal publishes fundamental advances from both basic and clinical studies that provide novel insights into the relationships between brain and behavior using the tools and constructs of cognitive neuroscience and neuroimaging. It is ranked 47th out of 271 Neurosciences titles in the 2019 ISI Journal Citations Reports® published by Clarivate Analytics. The 2019 Impact Factor score for Biological Psychiatry: CNNI is 5.335. BP: CNNI welcomes new submissions.
  • Career Development Resources – links to scientific, funding and career development resources. 
  • Job Center – Post your resume, post a job opening, or look for other professional opportunities. 
  • Video Library - SOBP Members have access to SOBP's Video Library. The video library includes plenary talks from the 2019 SOBP Annual Meeting, 2020 Virtual Symposia, and features talks from Women in Science.
  • Discounted Registration Fees for the annual meeting. 
  • Membership Directory – Connect with your colleagues using the on-line membership directory. 
  • Quarterly Newsletter – Keep informed on all the news and updates from the Society 
  • Sponsor and Submit Abstracts for presentation at the meeting.  
  • Waived Abstract Fees for Members.
SOBP Women's Leadership Group - Resources for Women In Academia
Don't miss the web page launched by SOBP's Women In Leadership Group (WLG) - Resources for Women in Academia. This web page features great resources for women in academia during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as other wonderful resources recommended by the WLG.

SOBP's Career Center connects our members with employment opportunities and employers with the best professionals within our membership. Employment opportunities range from post-doc positions, faculty positions, neuroscience jobs in industry and alternative careers. 
Visit SOBP's Career Center today to explore employment opportunities. Post an anonymous resume for employers or recruiters to view. 
Links to other resources are available for your convenience. 
Society of Biological Psychiatry Newsletter Editorial Staff  
Robert Howland, M.D., Editor