Forum Series 2021:  COVID19 and Mental Health


Husseini Manji

Global Head, Science for Minds
Johnson & Johnson


Husseini K. Manji, MD, FRCPC is Global Head, J&J Science for Minds, and immediate past Therapeutic Head for Neuroscience at Janssen Research & Development, LLC, one of the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical companies. He is also an Honorary Fellow at Oxford University and Visiting Professor at Duke University. Dr. Manji was previously Chief of the Laboratory of Molecular Pathophysiology at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Director of the NIH Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program, the largest program of its kind in the world. The major focus of Dr. Manji’s research is the investigation of disease- and treatment-induced changes in gene and protein networks that regulate synaptic and neural plasticity in neuropsychiatric disorders. His work has helped to conceptualize these illnesses as genetically influenced disorders of synaptic and neural plasticity and has led to the investigation of novel therapeutics for refractory patients. Under his leadership, this has led to the FDA Approval of the first novel antidepressant mechanism (NMDA-antagonism) in decades. Spravato (an NMDA antagonist) was demonstrated to produce robust and rapid antidepressant effects and is approved for treatment resistant depression. Dr. Manji has also been actively involved in developing biomarkers to help refine these multifactoral diseases. Dr. Manji has received a number of prestigious awards, including the NIMH Director's Career Award for Significant Scientific Achievement, the A. E. Bennett Award for Neuropsychiatric Research, the Ziskind-Somerfeld Award for Neuropsychiatric Research, the NARSAD Mood Disorders Prize, the Mogens Schou Distinguished Research Award, the ACNP’s Joel Elkes Award for Distinguished Research, the DBSA Klerman Senior Distinguished Researcher Award, the Briggs Pharmacology Lectureship Award, the American Federation for Aging Research Award of Distinction, the Caring Kind Alzheimer’s Disease Leadership Award, and the Global Health & the Arts Award of Recognition. He has received PhRMA’s Research & Hope Award for Excellence in Biopharmaceutical Research and has also been recognized as one of 14 inaugural “Health Heroes” by Oprah magazine. Dr. Manji has been inducted into the National Academy of Medicine (formerly IOM), the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Future Councils, is a member of Harvard/MIT’s Stanley Center SAB, has been appointed to the Interim Board of the Healthy Brains Global Initiative, and has held numerous leadership positions within the NAM, the FNIH Biomarkers Consortium Executive Committee, the ACNP, and the Society of Biological Psychiatry. Throughout his career, Dr. Manji has also been committed to undertakings related to medical and neuroscience education and has worked with the National Board of Medical Examiners (NMBE), the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Scholars Program, and numerous national curriculum committees. He founded and co-directed the NIH Foundation for the Advanced Education in the Sciences Graduate Course in the Neurobiology of Neuropsychiatric Illness and has received several teaching and mentoring awards. He has also served as Editor, and on editorial boards of numerous scientific journals. Dr. Manji has published extensively on the molecular and cellular neurobiology of severe neuropsychiatric disorders and development of novel therapeutics, with over 300 publications in peer-reviewed journals, including Science, Science Translational Medicine, Nature Neuroscience, Nature Reviews Neuroscience, Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, NEJM, J Clinical Investigation, PNAS, J Neuroscience, JAMA Psychiatry, Molecular Psychiatry.