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This is a Festschrift to honor the distinguished scientific career of Dr. Irving I. Gottesman, whose work on schizophrenia and on behavior genetics of personality and psychopathology in general has permeated the thinking of both the scientific community and the public at large. Dr. Gottesman is internationally renowned for his extensive and innovative work in many areas of psychopathology. He has just been awarded the Distinguished Scientific Contributions Award from APA. Receipt of this Award reflects the committee consensus that he is "at the absolute top of the field". His research focuses on genetic principles and the many ways that genetic factors interact with and augment environmental influences that lead to psychopathology. Dr. Gottesman's impact on the field is evident not only through his own work but also through the work of the large number of students whom he has mentored and who have gone on themselves to make major contributions to the fields of psychology and psychopathology. Thus, this Festschrift, to be held on June 8th and 9th, 2001, will serve two purposes. First, it will be a celebration of Dr. Gottesman's many years of dedicated and innovative research in the fields of clinical psychology, developmental psychology, and behavior genetics. Second, it will provide a means for extending the impact of his contributions by having students and colleagues whom he has already influenced share their knowledge and ideas both among themselves and with a new generation of researchers.

Dr. Gottesman is one of the world's leading experts on the genesis of schizophrenia. His models of development of psychopathology have become accepted models for the ways in which genes and environment interact. For example, Dr. Gottesman (in 1967, with Shields) was the first to apply polygenic/threshold models of inheritance to the field of psychopathology. His threshold model neatly describes the mechanism by which behavior varies from normal to abnormal. This model states that genetic and environmental risks for psychopathology exist, and that an accumulation of sufficient risks can push an individual over the threshold from normal behavior to psychopathology. Fewer risks may lead to unusual behavior, but they would not be severe enough to cause the shift into psychopathology. A second model of development is his reaction range concept, more recently elaborated into a reaction threshold model. This model elegantly describes the ways that genetic and environmental influences separately create upper limits for the expression of behavior, thus resulting in behaviors that are multiply determined but have upper and lower limits as a function of both genetic and environmental influences. Dr. Gottesman first introduced this concept from the genetics literature into psychology, and now it is included in nearly every introductory psychology textbook.

Dr. Gottesman has made an impact in his various fields of research in a number of ways. He has been actively involved in societies that form the basis for much of the research in these areas. For instance, he has been a member of APA since 1958 and a Fellow since 1975. He currently is the Chair of the Twin Committee of the Institute of Medicine/National Academy of Sciences and is a member of the Medical Follow-Up Agency of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science. He was president of the Behavior Genetics Association in 1976. He served as the president of the Society for Research in Psychopathology in 1993. Dr. Gottesman also has served as an Associate or Consulting Editor for seven journals and has been on the Editorial Board of another ten journals. His list of publications is outstanding by any criteria. He has published 179 journal articles, 75 book chapters, and 23 book reviews. His collaborators include other eminent psychologists as well as his own students, many of whom have gone on to amass an impressive list of publications in their own right. A list of Dr. Gottesman's awards during his academic career is impressive and reflects the high regard in which he is held by his peers. Some of the more impressive of these awards include the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Japanese Society for Biological Psychiatry (just awarded); the Lifetime Achievement Award in Psychiatric Genetics from the International Society for Psychiatric Genetics; the William James Book Award from the American Psychological Association Division of General Psychology; the Strömgren medal in 1991 for his outstanding contributions to psychiatric genetics; the Theodosius Dobzhansky Award (for lifetime contributions to behavioral genetics) from the Behavior Genetics Association; the Stanley R. Dean Research Award for Contributions to Schizophrenia Research from the American College of Psychiatrists; the Distinguished Scientist Award from the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology [APA]; the Kurt Schneider Prize from the University of Bonn (Germany); the Hofheimer Prize for Research from the American Psychiatric Association; and the Stephen V. Logan Award for research on schizophrenia and manic-depressive illnesses from the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI). He also is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Academy of Clinical Psychology, the Royal College of Psychiatrists (London; honorary), and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Stanford, CA, and he was a Guggenheim Fellow at the University of Copenhagen in 1972/3.

Dr. Gottesman's treatment of his research topics is impressive in its mixture of science and compassion. He has always been sensitive to issues of genetic determinism and has been clear about the importance of both genetic and environmental influences on behavior. Even when there is clear evidence of a genetic effect on a disorder, he continues to espouse the importance of the individual. For example, in a recent NAMI (The Nation's Voice on Mental Illness) pamphlet on Schizophrenia and Genetic Risks, by Gottesman and Moldin (1999), the authors answer the question of whether schizophrenics should have children with the following statement: "A simple 'yes' or 'no' answer cannot do justice to this very personal and delicate question that goes to the heart of personal liberty and civil rights in a democratic society." Dr. Gottesman's research has combined a compassionate treatment of the rights of individuals with a rigorous scientific approach to psychopathology, resulting in a career worthy of commemoration. This Festschrift will provide the appropriate forum for such a celebration.

 

About Dr. Irving I. Gottesman