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Training Future Leaders

On the Shoulders of Giants Scientific Symposium

An annual celebration of scientific achievement highlighting the researchers that form the groundwork for future discovery.

The On the Shoulders of Giants Scientific Symposium is the Child Mind Institute’s annual celebration of scientific achievement in child and adolescent psychiatry, psychology, and developmental neuroscience. In October of each year, we invite the winner of our Sarah Gund Prize for Research and Mentorship in Child Mental Health to present at a symposium and select two other scientists to present. This symposium celebrates the spirit of scientific collaboration and stewardship, and highlights seminal contributions to our understanding of the brain and behavior.

On the Shoulders of Giants brings together world-class researchers with children’s mental health care experts, educators, parents, and young people interested in the advances that are revolutionizing our understanding of the brain and mental health and learning disorders.

The symposium also honors our Rising Scientists — outstanding high school students who have demonstrated exceptional promise in science. Each Rising Scientist is awarded a $2,000 college scholarship. Learn more about the Rising Scientist scholarships.

Past Programs

2022 On the Shoulders of Giants Scientific Symposium

The 2022 On the Shoulders of Giants Scientific Symposium was held virtually on Thursday, October 20. The event honored the work of Dr. Margaret McCarthy, PhD, chair of the Department of Pharmacology and director for the Program in Neuroscience (PIN) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

2021 On the Shoulders of Giants Scientific Symposium

The 2021 On the Shoulders of Giants Scientific Symposium was held virtually on Tuesday, October 5. The 2021 symposium celebrated the work of Dr. Yasmin Hurd, the Ward-Coleman Chair of Translational Neuroscience and the Director of the Addiction Institute at Mount Sinai.

2020 On the Shoulders of Giants Scientific Symposium

The 2020 On the Shoulders of Giants Scientific Symposium was held virtually on Tuesday, October 6. The 2020 symposium celebrated the work of Dr. Tom Boyce, the Lisa and John Pritzker Distinguished Professor of Developmental and Behavioral Health at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Boyce’s work focuses on the impact of socioeconomic factors and early life experiences on child physical and mental health.

2019 On the Shoulders of Giants Scientific Symposium

The 2019 On the Shoulders of Giants Scientific Symposium celebrated the work of John Weisz, PhD, Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University and a Professor at Harvard Medical School. He leads the Harvard Lab for Youth Mental Health. Dr. Weisz’s recent work involves the development and testing of personalized and flexible, evidence-based treatments including modular treatments for anxiety, depression, trauma and conduct disorders.

2018 On the Shoulders of Giants Scientific Symposium

The 2018 On the Shoulders of Giants Scientific Symposium celebrated the work of Felton “Tony” Earls, MD, Professor of Social Medicine, Emeritus, Harvard Medical School. Dr. Earls presented on the consequences of children’s exposure to community violence and the far-reaching benefits of engaging children as citizens to enhance their well-being.

2017 On the Shoulders of Giants Scientific Symposium

The 2017 On the Shoulders of Giants Scientific Symposium celebrated the work of Kenneth A. Dodge, PhD, Pritzker Professor of Public Policy; Founder of the Center for Child and Family Policy at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University.

2016 On the Shoulders of Giants Scientific Symposium

The 2016 On the Shoulders of Giants Scientific Symposium celebrated the work of John L. R. Rubenstein, MD, PhD, Nina Ireland Distinguished Professor in Child Psychiatry and 2016 Child Mind Institute Distinguished Scientist Award Recipient.

2015 On the Shoulders of Giants Scientific Symposium

The 2015 On the Shoulders of Giants Scientific Symposium celebrated the work of Thomas Insel, MD, former director of the National Institute of Mental Health and 2015 Child Mind Institute Distinguished Scientist Award Recipient.

2014 On the Shoulders of Giants Scientific Symposium

The 2014 On the Shoulders of Giants Scientific Symposium celebrated the work of Pasko Rakic, MD PhD, director of the Yale Kavli Institute for Neuroscience and 2014 Child Mind Institute Distinguished Scientist Award Recipient.

2011 On the Shoulders of Giants Scientific Symposium

In 2011, the first annual On the Shoulders of Giants Symposium celebrated Jerome Kagan, PhD, and Judith L. Rapoport, MD, recipients of the Child Mind Institute’s Distinguished Scientist Awards for their extraordinary contributions to child mental health.