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U of M researchers, clinicians focus on schizophrenia at ICOSR

Hundreds of clinicians and researchers gathered for a variety of discussions around the latest in schizophrenia research at the 2013 International Congress on Schizophrenia Research (ICOSR).

Over the course of four days in April in Orlando, Fl., experts from across the world shared the latest information on brain imaging, genetics and clinical trials designed to advance the treatment of schizophrenia.

This was the 14th biennial meeting for ICOSR. The event was created in 1987 to bring scientists together around this serious illness. The event was founded in part by S. Charles Schulz, M.D., head of the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Department of Psychiatry.

Dr. Charles Schulz , mental health expert

S. Charles Schulz, M.D., head of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Minnesota

“In the 1980’s it became clear there was no cohesive conversation about schizophrenia taking place anywhere in the world. We needed a way to bring active investigators together, to bring people up to speed,” said Schulz, who is renowned internationally as a leader in schizophrenia research.  “The event has grown incredibly over the years, and we’re extremely proud that the University of Minnesota’s presence internationally has grown alongside it.”

Just 175 people attended the first event. By 2013, the ICOSR boasted 1150 attendees from a variety of clinical and academic backgrounds. About 30 percent of those in attendance were basic scientists focused on the brain, while the remaining attendees were experts in the fields of pharmacy, psychiatry, genetics, and more.
“The impact of the University of Minnesota on this Congress has really exploded in the last ten years,” said Schulz. “Just one abstract was included in the discussion back in 1999, but at this year’s event we submitted a number of abstracts, our faculty gave three talks and participated in a symposium. Attendance is up significantly, as well. It’s become a great event and has really supported the advancement of schizophrenia research and treatment across the country and from a global perspective as well.”

The ICOSR boasts a number of unique opportunities. There is a program to mentor and encourage young investigators in the field, to help ensure ongoing collaboration and innovative thinking around schizophrenia. There is also a family education session held the night before the conference begins, to discuss the latest information and treatments with those dealing with schizophrenia on a daily basis.

The next ICOSR is set for March 28-April 1, 2015, in Colorado Springs, Colorado. For more information on the International Congress on Schizophrenia Research, click here.

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