Dr. Joel Elkes was Distinguished Service Professor, Emeritus, the John Hopkins University, and Distinguished University Professor, Emeritus, the University of Louisville. Between 1963 and 1975 he served as Henry Phipps Professor and Director of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in the John Hopkins University and the Psychiatrist-in-Chief at the John Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland.
Educated in Lithuania and Switzerland, Dr. Joel Elkes came to England in 1931 and studied medicine at St. Mary's Hospital, London. Beginning in physical chemistry and pharmacology, he moved into psychiatry, and, in 1951, founded the Department of Experimental Psychiatry at the University of Birmingham (UK), the first of its kind in the world. The Department emphasized the continuity between basic laboratory research and clinical psychiatry. Since coming to the United States in 1957, he built three major research centers for the Brain Sciences as they relate to mental illness. He contributed significantly to the founding of the new science of Psychopharmacology, a science dealing with the play of chemical influences on mental life, and the place of drugs in the management and treatment of the mentally ill. He was a Founding Fellow and Senior Scholar-in-Residence at the Fetzer Institute, Kalamazoo, Michigan.