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Annual IOL Burlingame Award Honors Dr. Herbert Meltzer

May 25, 2022

The 2021 C. Charles Burlingame, MD, Award was recently given to Dr. Herbert Y. Meltzer by the Institute of Living for his groundbreaking contributions to psychopharmacology and mental health diagnosis and treatment.

Hank Schwartz, MD, psychiatrist-in-chief emeritus at the Institute of Living, led the virtual ceremony praising Dr. Meltzer for his transformative work in research and as a key figure working with industry pharmaceutical companies to help develop and improve critical drugs for mental health patients.


Herbert Y. Meltzer is a professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Pharmacology and Physiology and director of the Translational Nueropharmacology Program at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois. He received his BA from Cornell University, an MA in chemistry from Harvard, and his MD from Yale University. Dr. Meltzer has been president of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology and the collegium International Neuro-Pharmacologicum.

Dr. Meltzer spoke about his lifelong work centered around the study and improvement of the drug Clozapine and assisting developing advancements for treatment resistant Schizophrenia and related disorders. He also discussed his pioneering work studying skeletal muscle abnormalities and utilizing sophisticated brain imaging and stem cell research.

His current research interests include the development of novel drugs for treatment and prevention of psychosis, depression, opioid abuse and age-related cognitive impairment, behavioral and neurochemical studies of antipsychotic, anti-depressant, cognitive improving and anti-suicide drugs. He has written nearly 1000 peer reviewed publications, 150 book chapters and received a large number of similar awards and honors.

“Thank you for your recap of so many valuable contributions and the career that has led to these many positive developments for our patients,” said Dr. Schwartz.

Dr. Meltzer thanked the IOL for the recognition and said he was delighted to be in the company of the past recipients of award. He said it was particularly meaningful to him as he had always admired his peer Charles Burlingame and his accomplishments. He concluded expressing much appreciation to the many dedicated members of his team and the wonderful collaborations he has had, some lasting for decades.

“I have been fortunate to have worked with pharma in such a positive way over the years,” he said.

For 32 years the IOL has given the Burlingame Award annually to a luminary in American and international psychiatry who have made significant contributions to the field. The award is named after C. Charles Burlingame, MD, who was the Superintendent of the IOL from 1931 to 1939 and Psychiatrist in Chief from 1939 to 1951. He was responsible for renaming the Retreat the “Institute of Living” and laying the groundwork for modern day diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders.

While the event has always been a two day in person affair that included a dinner and lecture, the pandemic unfortunately caused a delay last year and is the reason for holding the recent virtual presentation for the 2021 award. This year’s Burlingame Award will return this October with a planned in-person event.