Baszucki Group Announces Columbia University’s Martin Picard, PhD as Inaugural Recipient of $1.5 Million Baszucki Prize in Science

March 5, 2024 Baszucki Group today announced that Columbia University’s Martin Picard, PhD, is the first to receive the new Baszucki Prize in Science. Dr. Picard, Associate Professor of Behavioral Medicine in Psychiatry and Neurology, received the $1.5 million prize for his groundbreaking work connecting brain energetics and mitochondria to the human experience. Dr. Picard has led seminal research establishing mitochondrial psychobiology as a critical new field advancing our understanding of health and disease.

“Baszucki Group has been an invaluable supporter of our work and I am honored to be the first to receive this prestigious new prize,” said Dr. Picard. “The goal of my lab is to discover bioenergetic principles of health and brain-body communication, and to use this knowledge to build an integrative model of human health. This prize will help us continue in our mission to transform the practice and teaching of medicine.”

Dr. Picard directs the Mitochondrial Psychobiology Group at Columbia’s Irving Medical Center.

His work applies clinical, cellular, and computational approaches to understanding how mitochondrial bioenergetics shape human health and aging. Looking beyond genetics to energetics, Dr. Picard and his team conduct ambitious translational studies rooted in advanced mitochondrial science applicable to both mental and physical health.

“Our son’s journey from illness to remission using ketogenic therapy taught our family that metabolism is a core driver of what we call mental health,” said Jan Ellison Baszucki, co-founder and president of Baszucki Group. “Dr. Picard’s groundbreaking research in mitochondria is advancing our understanding of how energy–our most precious commodity–is fundamental not only for the brain but for overall health and well-being. Dr. Picard is in the vanguard of neuroscience.”

Baszucki Group’s prize programs are designed to reward progress in science, medicine, and other disciplines. The newly established Baszucki Prize will periodically recognize an individual who has leveraged prior Baszucki Group funding to make exceptional contributions to their field. The new prize follows the 2022 Metabolic Mind Award for Clinicians, which honored seven pioneers for their work using ketogenic therapy to treat mental illness, and an inaugural research fellowship in Metabolic Psychiatry. Additional prize programs will be announced later this year.