Irving Gottesman, winner of the 2013 Grawemeyer Award in Psychology, died on June 29. He was 85. His Grawemeyer Award-winning idea, the endophenotype concept in schizophrenia, changed assumptions about the origins of psychological disease.
Gottesman is widely acclaimed for his contributions to the mental health field, which included research that uncovered a genetic link to schizophrenia. Working with researcher James Shields, Gottesman developed a model accounting for the genetic and environmental factors that can affect the risk of developing schizophrenia over time – defying then-prevalent scientific beliefs that only heredity or environment can account for the condition.
Researchers expanded Gottesman’s work to explain degrees of other psychiatric conditions, including autism, alcohol dependence and bipolar disorders. His nominator for the award said Gottesman “helped to shape our contemporary understanding of the complexities of human nature.”