American Psychological Foundation

Gold wins $20,000 Gralnick prize for work on serious mental illness

APF has presented James M. Gold, PhD, with its $20,000 Alexander Gralnick Investigator Prize for exceptional research and mentoring in the area of serious mental illness.

Gold, who studies schizophrenia, is a professor of psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He creates computer models of the neurological underpinnings of schizophrenia that enable researchers to develop better diagnostic tools, antipsychotic drugs and other treatments for the disease. Gold plans to use the funds to further his research and invest in the next generation of investigators.

"The puzzles of severe mental illness are unlikely to be answered by my generation of researchers," says Gold. "I hope that my most important contribution to the field is to the development of future researchers who will carry on this work until it is done."

APF announces Benton-Meier scholarship winners

APF has awarded two $2,500 Benton-Meier Neuropsychology Graduate Scholarships, which provide research support for talented neuropsychology graduate students. The recipients are:

  • Jenna Dietz, a fifth-year doctoral student in the department of clinical and health psychology at the University of Florida, who is doing research on how depression, anxiety and other neuropsychiatric changes affect patients with Parkinson's disease.

  • Tamar Gefen, a clinical neuropsychology doctoral student in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, is researching the genetic and neurological factors behind "super agers," the older adults who maintain above-average memory and cognitive functions.

The 2013 application deadline is June 1. To apply for the scholarships or donate to the fund, visit the Benton-Meier Neuropsychology Graduate Scholarships

Coutanche wins McGuigan award

APF has presented University of Pennsylvania graduate student Marc Coutanche with the $2,000 APF F.J. McGuigan Dissertation Award. The award supports his dissertation research on fast mapping, or learning and remembering a new concept in a short period of time. The 2013 McGuigan Dissertation Award application deadline is June 1. To apply or to donate to the fund, visit the F. J. McGuigan Dissertation Award.

Grantee Spotlight: Ensuring safer skies

Air traffic controllers who rely too much on technology can put passengers at risk, according to research by APF grantee Arathi Sethumadhavan, PhD. As a human factors/experimental psychology graduate student at Texas Tech University in 2009, Sethumadhavan used a $3,000 APF/Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology Ruth G. and Joseph D. Matarazzo Scholarship to look at how controllers perform using different types of automated air traffic systems.

She found that controllers who used systems with more automation were less able to detect collisions in their airspace when the system failed than controllers who were using less-automated systems. The findings have implications for air-traffic system designers, Sethumadhavan says. They need to create more user-friendly systems that don't "keep the operator so far out of the loop as to invite disaster if the automation should fail," she says.

Sethumadhavan says winning the grant was a critical step in her career. She presented her APF-funded research at multiple international conferences, won the best dissertation award from Div. 21 (Applied Experimental and Engineering Psychology) and published her study in Human Factors and the International Journal of Aviation Psychology. Sethumadhavan now works at Medtronic, a global medical device manufacturer.

Upcoming APF deadlines


For more information on APF's grants and scholarships, please contact Parie Kadir, Program Officer, at (202) 336-5984.