We lost Pamela Sklar, MD, PhD, on November 20, 2017. Pamela was a leader of worldwide collaborations in psychiatric genetics and genomics, as well as the beloved wife of Andrew Chess and devoted mother of Michael and Isabel.
After completing a classical education at St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland, Pamela pursued her MD and PhD degrees at Johns Hopkins University where she worked on her dissertation research with distinguished neuroscientist, Solomon Snyder, DPhil, DSc, MD. Pamela then received residency training in psychiatry at Columbia University during which time she worked in the laboratory of Nobel Prize winning molecular biologist, Richard Axel, MD. Upon completion of her train, Pamela was lured to Boston where she founded a group studying psychiatric genetics at Massachusetts General Hospital. This grew into the psychiatric genetics department - which she led - at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University until January 2011 when Pamela moved to Mount Sinai.
Pamela had the creativity and drive to employ the latest advances in genetics and bioinformatics to study tens of thousands of individuals with psychotic illnesses, and was among the first to identify bona fide genetic variants that confer risk for these disorders. Because of revolutionary advances made by Pamela and the international consortia she helped lead, we now know that genetic risk for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder involves many hundreds of genes, each with small effect and most shared between the two disorders, now challenging the field to approach the biology and treatment of these conditions in completely new ways.
Please consider a donation in Pamela's honor and share this link with others who may want to join in showing admiration for her, both as a person and as a scientist. The more funds raised, the greater impact her legacy will have. At a minimum, we hope to raise $50,000 - enough to permanently endow an annual lectureship in Pamela's name.