CINP mourns the passing on November 20, 2017 of Pamela Sklar, M.D., Ph.D., a member of the CINP Council. At the time of her passing, Dr. Sklar was Chair of the Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences and professor of psychiatry, neuroscience, and genetic and genomic sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (New York, USA). She was also chief of the Division of Psychiatric Genomics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
Dr. Sklar was a pioneering psychiatric geneticist and a principal investigator of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium. She was known for her pioneering contributions to large scale genetics initiatives that identified rare gene variants that had a relatively large effect on schizophrenia risk as well as some of the first replicable findings on the impact of numerous common gene variants that contribute to the risk for schizophrenia and mood disorders.
A polymath, Dr. Sklar completed her bachelor’s degree in classics and philosophy at St. John’s College in 1981. She then completed her M.D. and Ph.D. (Neuroscience) degrees in neuroscience at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She completed her Ph.D. in the laboratory of Lasker Prize recipient, Solomon Snyder. She then completed psychiatry residency and post-doctoral research training at Columbia University. Her post-doctoral work was conducted in the laboratory of Nobel laureate, Richard Axel. While working at the Broad Institute, a joint Harvard-MIT initiative, she co-founded the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research. In 2011, she moved to the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
Dr. Sklar was the recipient of numerous honors and distinctions that included the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation Colvin Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Mood Disorders Research, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics, and election to the U.S. National Academy of Medicine.
Dr. Sklar is survived by her husband, Andrew Chess, MD, Professor of Genetics and Genomic Sciences; Cell, Developmental and Regenerative Biology; and Neuroscience, at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; and their children, Michael Sklar Chess and Isabel Sklar Chess.
Dr. John Krystal, president of CINP, wrote, “I was thrilled to see that Pamela had been elected to the CINP Council. She would have brought so much to our College, as she has to our field. I am deeply saddened by her passing. On behalf of CINP, I send our deepest condolences to her family, friends, and colleagues.”