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PsychoGenics Chief Innovation Officer Honored for Scientific Excellence

Oct 11, 2021

PsychoGenics announces that Daniela Brunner Ph.D., Chief Innovation Officer, was named the recipient of Great Minds in STEMTM (GMiS) Scientist of the Year Award (GMiS 2021 Award Winners). Dr. Brunner was recognized for her contribution to the development of PsychoGenics’ AI-based, phenotypic platforms, including its transformative SmartCube® technology that predicts the therapeutic potential of compounds for neuropsychiatric disorders.

Dr. Brunner, a native of Argentina, received her Ph.D. at Cambridge University (UK) and post-doctoral training at Columbia University (USA). She joined PsychoGenics in 1999 where she developed preclinical tests for cognition, neurodegeneration, autism, among others. She conceived of the SmartCube discovery system and worked on the development of PsychoGenics’ AI technologies.

In the recent past she also worked in digital healthcare, having founded Early Signal Foundation and ScienceForward LLC, organizations focused on emerging technologies. She has also worked closely with non-profits, focused on rare/underserved disorders such as the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance, Children’s Tumor Foundation, Cohen Veterans Bioscience, and International Rett Syndrome Foundation.

“Dr. Brunner’s work has revolutionized neuropsychiatric drug discovery leading to several promising treatments in clinical trials. This includes SEP-363856 (Ulotaront), a novel treatment for schizophrenia now in Phase 3, discovered in partnership with Sunovion,” said Emer Leahy, CEO and President of PsychoGenics. “She continues to have a profound impact as she leads the company’s Data Science group developing novel AI approaches to drug discovery and bringing hope to millions of patients suffering from severely disabling conditions such as schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, and more.”

About SmartCube®–driven Drug Discovery

PsychoGenics’ proprietary, high-throughput SmartCube® platform combines in vivo behavioral testing with developments in computer vision and modern artificial intelligence to phenotypically discover drug candidates for potential utility across the spectrum of CNS disease indications. Using SmartCube® and other capabilities, PsychoGenics collects and analyzes multidimensional preclinical data of novel compounds and disease mouse model phenotypes, and employs proprietary machine learning algorithms to find new treatments. PsychoGenics has screened and optimized diverse and targeted libraries of compounds delivering hundreds of hits from which numerous neuropsychiatric drug candidates have emerged. PsychoGenics’ phenotypic drug discovery approach can significantly reduce the time and cost to reaching approved Investigational New Drug status, potentially resulting in the identification of a viable drug candidate from a few hundred analogs tested in lead optimization in just over a year. This compares favorably to most target-driven programs, which typically synthesize thousands of analogs over many years. Due to its target-agnostic nature, the SmartCube® approach has increased the probability of successfully finding drug candidates with novel first-in-class mechanisms of action and improved side effect profiles that are suitable for treating the symptoms of neuropsychiatric disorders.

About PsychoGenics

PsychoGenics Inc. and its discovery arm PGI Drug Discovery LLC (collectively known as PsychoGenics) have pioneered the translation of rodent behavioral and physiological responses into robust, high-throughput and high-content phenotyping. PsychoGenics’ drug discovery platforms, SmartCube®, NeuroCube®, PhenoCube®, and eCube have been used in shared-risk partnerships with major pharma companies including Sunovion, Roche, and Karuna resulting in the discovery of several novel compounds now in clinical trials or advanced preclinical development.

PsychoGenics’ capabilities also include standard behavioral testing, electrophysiology, translational EEG, molecular biology, microdialysis and quantitative immunohistochemistry. In addition, the company offers a variety of in-licensed transgenic mouse models that support research in areas such as Huntington’s disease, autism spectrum disorders, psychosis/schizophrenia, depression, PTSD, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy, ALS and seizure disorders.

For more information on PsychoGenics Inc., visit

About GMiS

GMiS, established in 1989, is a non-profit organization that focuses on education, recognition, and recruitment of Hispanics in STEM at a national level, connecting engineering and science efforts to the general population. The scientist of the year award is given to the top five candidates in any of the many professional award categories given by GMiS, and is chosen by special committees, only presented when it is determined that a candidate’s achievements merit this special recognition of overall leadership and technical and scientific achievement. These special candidates have mastered the art of managing multi-skilled teams to solve complex technical and business problems, exemplifying STEM excellence and executive leadership that significantly impacts the population.

To learn more about this award and HENAAC, go to:


Dr. Emer Leahy
President & CEO
(914) 406-8008