With sadness, we mourn the passing of Prof. Brian E. Leonard, Emeritus Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Galway, Galway Ireland on December 27th, 2023 at the age of 87. Prof. Leonard was a Fellow Emeritus and was accepted into ACNP membership in 1983. Over a long and distinguished career, he has left an indelible mark on psychopharmacology research and teaching, most notably in the areas of depression and brain-immune interactions and in training generations across the globe. Among the many leadership positions he held included being President of the British Association for Psychopharmacology (BAP) from 1986–1988. He was President of the Society for the Investigation of Stress from 1998–2000 and Deputy Chairman of the Lundbeck Institute for Neuropsychiatric Research from 2004–2011. He was President of the Collegium Internationale Neuropsychopharmacologicum (CINP) from 2004–2006 and was Chair of the Local Organising Committee for a very successful CINP meeting in Glasgow in 1998. He received the BAP’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008, the Arvid Carlsson medal for education from CINP in 2012; and the Kraepelin-Alzheimer medal for research and education from Munich University, 2012. He served on the Editorial Board of 6 international psychopharmacology journals and was Editor-in-Chief of the Journal Human Psychopharmacology from 1995–2000.

English by birth but he very much identified with his adopted country of Ireland and especially adored the rugged Galway countryside where he lived. He obtained a BSc and PhD in Medical Biochemistry from the University of Birmingham, UK in 1959 and 1962 respectively. This was followed by a Lectureship in Pharmacology at the University of Nottingham, UK from 1962 to 1968 and subsequent stints in the pharmaceutical industry; first with ICI Ltd in Alderley Park until 1971 and then in 1974 when he became Head of Neurochemistry at Organon Laboratories in the Netherlands. In 1974, Brian became the founding Chair of the Dept of Pharmacology at University College Galway (now University of Galway) where he remained for 25 years until his retirement in 1999. In the subsequent years he held a Visiting Professorship at the University of Maastricht, The Netherlands from 2002, and an Honorary Professorship at Ludwig Maxmillian University, Munich since 2007.

Brian was completely dedicated to global education throughout his career and most notably in his role as chair and member of the CINP educational committee from 2006 to 2018. He travelled regularly throughout the globe developing teaching programmes to inspire the next generation of psychopharmacologists and biological psychiatrists. Brian trained over 40 PhD students and dozens of postdoctoral researchers in his lab in Galway and did so at a time when there was very little government funding for research. To counter this he collaborated with industry and he used a very extensive network of collaborators and contacts all over the globe from Melbourne to Mississippi to place many of his students for periods of their graduate training. With over 450 papers, he was perhaps best known for his pioneering research in the development and characterisation of animal models of depression (most notably the olfactory bulbectomy model). His longstanding interest in biomarkers of major psychiatric disorders led to him championing the burgeoning field of psychoneuroimmunology, where he was one of the first to promote the importance of the immune system in depression and schizophrenia. In addition, he authored a number of highly regarded textbooks, including Fundamentals of Psychopharmacology, and Fundamentals of Psychoneuroimmunology, both published by John Wiley and Sons.

We remember Brian for his generosity of spirit, his championing of social causes, his passion for destigmatising mental illness, and most of all his distinct humour. His was a very rich life, lived very well with impact. A service for Brian took place on January 12th 2024 in Galway at which he was fondly remembered. He is survived by his wife Helga, his daughters Ingrid and Heide, and grandchildren.