Ford appointed president of the BBRF Scientific Council

The Board of Directors of the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation (BBRF) have announced that UC San Francisco researcher Judith M. Ford, PhD, has been appointed as the president of the BBRF Scientific Council. She has been a member of the council since 2003 and has also served as vice president and co-chair's of the organization's Young Investigator Grant selection committee.

The BBRF Scientific Council guides BBRF’s mental health grant making process. The all-volunteer group of 192 pre-eminent mental health researchers rigorously evaluates every grant application, identifying the most promising, high-quality science. Over the past 37 years, BBRF has awarded more than $450 million in research grants to more than 5,400 scientists around the world.

Ford is a senior research career scientist at the San Francisco VA Heath Care System and professor in the UCSF Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, where she co-directs the UCSF Brain Imaging and Electroencephalography (EEG) Laboratory with Daniel Mathalon, PhD, MD, and the VA Schizophrenia Research Fellowship Program. Prior to joining UCSF in 2007, she served as a faculty member at Stanford University and Yale University. She is also the former director of the Schizophrenia Biological Research Center at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System in West Haven.

Her research focuses on psychosis, specifically auditory verbal hallucinations, a cardinal symptom of schizophrenia associated with high morbidity and mortality. She is credited with explaining the basic neural mechanism that enables animals to distinguish between "self-generated" and "other-generated" sensations. This finding facilitated groundbreaking research that found people with schizophrenia demonstrate altered responses to self-generated sensations like sound and speech, due to an inability to predict these sensations—work which has reassured patients and their families that their symptoms have a neurobiological basis.

Ford's work has received numerous plaudits throughout her career, including the EEG and Clinical Neuroscience Society's Senior Career Contribution award in 2001, the Society for Psychophysiological Research's Award for the Distinguished Contributions to Psychophysiology in 2010, and the VA Biomedical Laboratory Research and Development Service's highest honor, the William S. Middleton Award, in 2022.

About UCSF Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

The UCSF Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute are among the nation's foremost resources in the fields of child, adolescent, adult, and geriatric mental health. Together they constitute one of the largest departments in the UCSF School of Medicine and the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences, with a mission focused on research (basic, translational, clinical), teaching, patient care, and public service.

UCSF Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences conducts its clinical, educational, and research efforts at a variety of locations in Northern California, including the UCSF Nancy Friend Pritzker Psychiatry BuildingUCSF Langley Porter Psychiatric Hospital; UCSF Medical Centers at Parnassus Heights, Mission Bay, and Mount Zion; UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals in San Francisco and Oakland; Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center; the San Francisco VA Health Care System; UCSF Fresno; and numerous community-based sites around the San Francisco Bay Area.

About the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences

The UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences, established by the extraordinary generosity of Joan and Sanford I. "Sandy" Weill, brings together world-class researchers with top-ranked physicians to solve some of the most complex challenges in the human brain.

The UCSF Weill Institute leverages UCSF’s unrivaled bench-to-bedside excellence in the neurosciences. It unites three UCSF departments—Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Neurology, and Neurological Surgery—that are highly esteemed for both patient care and research, as well as the Neuroscience Graduate Program, a cross-disciplinary alliance of nearly 100 UCSF faculty members from 15 basic-science departments, as well as the UCSF Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases, a multidisciplinary research center focused on finding effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and other neurodegenerative disorders.

About UCSF

The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) is exclusively focused on the health sciences and is dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. UCSF Health, which serves as UCSF’s primary academic medical center, includes top-ranked specialty hospitals and other clinical programs, and has affiliations throughout the Bay Area.