Dr. Linda Carpenter was named president-elect of the Society for Biological Psychiatry at the society’s annual meeting this month.
Carpenter, professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University and a member of the Carney Institute for Brain Science Executive Committee, was elected president of the society by peers in the field of biological psychiatry research.
“I’m deeply honored to have been elected to lead this outstanding research organization, which has steadily grown in size and reputation since I became a member nearly two decades ago,” Carpenter said. “The mission and activities of the society are perfectly aligned with my own as a clinician scientist.”
The vision of the Society for Biological Psychiatry is “a world where psychiatric disorders are no longer a cause of human suffering.” Its mission statement is geared toward better understanding the biological underpinnings of psychiatric disease and helping individual researchers in the field succeed, according to the society’s website.
Carpenter served as an elected council member for the society in 2012-2014, and since 2008 she has been a member or chair of a number of its committees, including most recently the Women’s Leadership Group. Carpenter and her research mentees regularly present their work at the society's annual conferences.
“I'm delighted to be re-engaging with the Society for Biological Psychiatry Council,” Carpenter said. “It’s a group of leaders who are enthusiastic and dedicated to a broad and inclusive research community with an excellent mission. When you're somebody who spends a lot of time in a field of research, the people you interact with over the years in scientific organizations become your close friends. You share your science with one another, and you share your time together in leadership roles. I'm very much looking forward to working closely with many of my esteemed colleagues again as I rejoin the council in my new role as president-elect.”
She said she hopes that her new role at the society will help other researchers at Brown to get involved with the society. “It can be really catalyzing for us at Brown to have somebody in a leadership role in scientific organizations like this," Carpenter said. "I hope my role will really mobilize students and researchers at Brown to get involved with the society and take advantage of its many resources.”
At Brown, Carpenter’s research focuses on neuromodulation and specifically the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for patients with mental illnesses. That means she investigates new treatments for neuropsychiatric disorders using devices that emit various kinds of energy fields. At Butler Hospital, she directs a TMS therapy clinic and has studied the use of deep brain stimulation for patients with depressive disorders.
“I’m very motivated to be involved in the development of new treatments that hopefully will make their way into the standard of care for patients with brain disorders, as we did for TMS,” Carpenter said, adding that for patients who don’t benefit from or can’t tolerate standard antidepressant medications, TMS therapy can bring significant symptom relief.
“Even though patients have to come to the clinic often for these treatments, with TMS they can still have a life outside of the hospital, go to work and function in other ways, because TMS therapy does not have significant side effects,” she added.
Carpenter said she hopes future meetings of the Society for Biological Psychiatry will continue to showcase innovative research in the field, including in studies using TMS and other novel brain stimulation methods.
“I'm really excited about what the future may hold for mental health with regard to development of new technologies and research focused on therapeutic neuromodulation,” she said.