Thomas Insel has seen many advances in the understanding of mental disorders since becoming the Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in 2002. During his tenure, major breakthroughs have been made in the areas of practical clinical trials, autism research and the role of genetics in mental illnesses.
Prior to his appointment at the NIMH, Insel was a professor of psychiatry at Emory University, studying the neurobiology of complex social behaviors. While there, he was the founding director of the NSF Center for Behavioral Neuroscience and director of the NIH-funded Center for Autism Research. He has published over 250 scientific articles and four books and has served on numerous academic, scientific, and professional committees and boards. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine, a fellow of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, and a recipient of the Outstanding Service Award from the U.S. Public Health Service and the 2010 La Fondation IPSEN Neuronal Plasticity Prize.