President Obama Honors Greek Scientist

a-PANOS-640x468A 36-year-old Greek was among 105 scientists and professionals honored by U.S. President Barack Obama in the annual “Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers.”

In a ceremony on Monday, President Obama named 105 researchers as recipients of the PECASE, granting them the U.S. government’s highest award for scientists and engineers in the early stages of their independent research careers.

PECASE winners demonstrate the ability to broadly advance fundamental research and help the United States maintain its position as a leading producer of scientists and engineers.

Panagiotis Roussos, an assistant professor in Genetics and Genomic sciences at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, received an award for his research in the fields of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Roussos and his research team are trying to understand the neurobiological factors that contribute to the appearance of the diseases.

The scientist is originally from the island of Santorini and studied medicine at the University of Crete, where he also completed his doctorate. He then moved to New York where he pursued his specialty in psychiatry at Mount Sinai Hospital.

“We are trying to discover new therapies to modernise the old methods used in the 1950s and 60s,” he told Ethnos newspaper Ethnos, regarding his work.

Roussos, who left Greece eight years ago, said the award was unexpected, adding that it gave him great pleasure. He admits that he misses his homeland but says he is not ready to return as he is at the beginning of his career.

“There are objective problems in Greece regarding research. There is no funding for research in Greece,” he said. Roussos urges young Greek scientists to dare and try their luck overseas.