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University of Maryland School of Medicine Dean Appoints New Chair of Psychiatry and Leader of New Brain Science Research Consortium Unit

Monday, August 19, 2013

Bankole Johnson, DSc., M.D., MPhil
 Bankole Johnson, DSc., M.D., MPhil

One of the Nation’s leading Neuroscientists and Psychopharmacologists, Dr. Bankole Johnson Joins the School of Medicine’s Leadership Team

University of Maryland School of Medicine Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, has appointed Bankole Johnson, DSc., M.D., MPhil, a leading expert in Neuroscience and the psychopharmacology of addiction research, as the new Chair of the Department of Psychiatry. He will also lead the new Brain Science Research Consortium Unit (RCU).

Dr. Johnson comes to the School of Medicine from the University of Virginia, where he was the Alumni Professor and Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences.

“As a distinguished, National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded neuroscientist and psychiatrist, Dr. Johnson is the ideal person to lead our world-renowned Department of Psychiatry, and our new Brain Science RCU,” says Dean Reece. “Throughout his career, Dr. Johnson has balanced his award-winning research in addiction, with his clinical responsibilities, while excelling at various leadership roles within his institutions, and in the international medical community at large. His career represents a wonderful example of the missions of the University of Maryland School of Medicine.”

Dr. Johnson replaces Anthony F. Lehman, MD, MSPH, who is now Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs. Dr. Lehman joined the University of Maryland in 1986 as an Associate Professor of Psychiatry, and was named Acting Chair of the department in 1998. He was appointed Chair in 2000. Under his leadership, the department has experienced extraordinary growth. The University of Maryland School of Medicine's Department of Psychiatry is home to the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center (MPRC), one of the world's most comprehensive and advanced programs of research and clinical care for schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. The department's faculty members have built an externally funded research portfolio of federal grants in excess of $15 million.

“We are most grateful to Dr. Tony Lehman for leading our Department of Psychiatry to new heights over his 15 years as chair,” says Dean Reece. “His excellence in research, clinical care and administrative leadership has set the bar high for his fellow faculty. His assistance has been instrumental during the search for his replacement, and we are so thankful for his help in making this transition a smooth one.”

“I am thrilled to join a nationally and internationally renowned university and School of Medicine with such a tremendous reputation for utilizing research as the foundation upon which to provide the very best clinical care, and to train the leading doctors of tomorrow. I am particularly delighted to have the opportunity to lead these truly outstanding programs and initiatives to the next level of academic and clinical excellence,” says Dr. Johnson.

Dr. Johnson graduated from the University of Glasgow in Scotland in 1982 with a Medicinae Baccalaureumet Chirurgie Baccalaureum degree, (MB.Ch.B), the qualifying degree for a physician in the UK. He trained in Psychiatry at the Royal London and Maudsley and Bethlem Royal Hospitals. In 1991, Dr. Johnson graduated from the University of London with a Master of Philosophy degree (M.Phil.) in neuropsychiatry. He then went on to conduct doctoral research at Oxford University and obtained the Medicinae Doctorem (M.D.) degree in biomedical sciences from the University of Glasgow in 1993. Most recently, in 2004, Dr. Johnson earned a Doctor of Science degree (D.Sc.) in medicine, from the University of Glasgow, specializing in neuroscience and neuropharmacology, the highest doctoral degree that can be granted in science by a British university.

His primary area of research expertise is the psychopharmacology of medications for treating addictions. Dr. Johnson is a board-certified psychiatrist throughout Europe and in the United.States. He is the Principal Investigator on National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded research studies using neuroimaging, neuropharmacology, and molecular genetics techniques. Dr. Johnson's clinical expertise is in the fields of addiction, biological, and forensic psychiatry. He has been honored with positions on numerous NIH review and other committees, including special panels.

Dr. Johnson is the recipient of many awards and honors in his field. He was the 2001 recipient of the Dan Anderson Research Award for his “distinguished contribution as a researcher who has advanced the scientific knowledge of addiction recovery.” He received the Distinguished Senior Scholar of Distinction Award in 2002 from the National Medical Association. Dr. Johnson also was an inductee in the Texas Hall of Fame in 2003 for contributions to science, mathematics, and technology, and in 2006 he received the American Psychiatric Association's (APA's) Distinguished Psychiatrist Lecturer Award. In 2007, he was named as a Fellow in the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and in 2008 he was elected to the status of Distinguished Fellow of the APA. In 2009, he received the APA's Solomon Carter Fuller Award.

In 2010, he was named as a Fellow in the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. In 2013, Dr. Johnson was the recipient of the Jack Mendelson Award from the NIH. The Mendelson award is bestowed annually to an outstanding alcohol investigator whose clinical research has made a substantial contribution to our understanding of alcoholism susceptibility, alcohol's effects on the brain and other organs, and prevention and treatment of alcohol-use disorders.

Dr. Johnson recently served for two years as Field Editor-in-Chief of Frontiers in Psychiatry and currently serves on the editorial boards of The American Journal of Psychiatry and Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, among others. In addition to reviewing for over 30 journals in pharmacology, neuroscience, and the addictions, Dr. Johnson has been published in over 200 peer-reviewed publications and has edited three books: Drug Addiction and Its Treatment: Nexus of Neuroscience and Behavior; Handbook of Clinical Alcoholism Treatment; and Addiction Medicine: Science and Practice. Dr. Johnson also received national media attention for his appearance in the Home Box Office (HBO) original documentary Addiction, which won the prestigious Governors Award, a special Emmy Award, from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

“We look forward with great anticipation to Dr. Johnson joining our leadership team here at the University of Maryland School of Medicine,” says Dean Reece.

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