William G. Iacono

Regents Professor

Psychology, College of Liberal Arts, 2010

Regents Professor William G. Iacono, Distinguished McKnight Professor, Professor of Psychology, Psychiatry, Neuroscience and Law, and Adjunct Professor of Child Development, is a pioneer in the neurobiological approach to the study of mental disorders and one of the world's leading clinical psychologists/experimental psychopathologists. He has made seminal contributions that span adult and developmental psychopathology, substance abuse, psychiatric epidemiology and behavior genetics and he is considered to be one of the world's foremost research scientists in these areas. As a primary investigator and training mentor for three decades, he has contributed directly and significantly to a shift in the fields of clinical psychology and psychiatry that is reflected in the strategic plans of the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) and Drug Abuse (NIDA) today. Most likely the work he is best known for is the Minnesota Twin Family Study (MTFS), a benchmark longitudinal investigation of approximately 2000 adolescent twin pairs and their parents. The primary purpose of the MTFS is to understand how substance use and related mental health problems evolve by tracing the development of twins in early adolescence through early adulthood. He is also internationally renowned for his expertise on detection of deception (lie detection). His early scholarly work on the neurobiological basis of schizophrenia earned him awards from the Society for Psychophysiological Research (SPR) and the American Psychological Association (APA). In 2008 he received the SPR Lifetime Achievement Award for Contributions to Psychophysiology and in 2009 he received the Distinguished Scientist Award, the highest honor from the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology. He also received a Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT) Award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse in 2009. In his role as principal investigator, he has secured more than $30 million in direct-cost grant support. Most recently, he received a renewal of his MTFS grant, extending the funding of this landmark project through its 25th year. He has published over 350 papers and he ranks among North America's most cited and productive clinical psychologists. Professor Iacono has contributed extensively in leadership and service activities at the departmental, university, national, and international level. His scholarly appointments have included president, Society for Psychophysiological Research; chair, Society's Publication Board; and associate editor, Psychophysiology. He has also served as chair or member of numerous NIH study sections, and he has been a consultant on lie detection to a wide variety of government agencies. He is currently the director of the University's Clinical Psychology Training Program and for over 20 years, he has co-directed the Minnesota Center for Twin and Family Research. In addition, he has served on numerous departmental, college and university committees. He is described as an extraordinary mentor who has served as the primary advisor for over 40 doctoral and postdoctoral students as well as many young faculty members and academicians who have already achieved success. One letter stated "Bill has opened the door for his students and countless other scientists, to make substantial and far reaching scientific contributions to modern psychopathology research. Graduate students could not have a more impressive model of a true scientific leader to emulate." Professor Iacono exemplifies the qualities of a Regents Professor in all respects. (Updated, 2010)

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