prof. Jan Vojtěch Volavka, MD, PhD
v instituci:  1965 - 1968


Prof. Volavka is a scientist and psychiatrist of world renown. From scientometric point of view he is probably the all-time most productive and most cited Czech-born psychiatry professor: his h-index is 44, Web of Science refers to 304 scientific publications.
After 1989 many Czech psychiatrists could visit the US to acquire skills, knowledge and realism needed for research only thanks to him.
Prof. Volavka was born in Prague in 1934 to prominent Czech art historians. His mother Hana Volavková, an important historian of Czech art, was the founder and long-time director of Jewish Museum in Prague and a significant participant in cultural life. His father Vojtěch Volavka was an expert on sculpture, 19th century art and Prague.
Prof. Volavka‘s life story reflects the shortcomings and opportunities of the troubled 20th century. As a child he experienced detention by Gestapo and, following his mother‘s internment in Terezín, separation from parents. After the war he graduated from the Faculty of Medicine and by the end of 1950s started working in Horní Beřkovice Psychiatric Hospital, where he stayed for four years. After his attestation Prof. Volavka left for the newly founded Psychiatric Research Institute in Prague. He worked in the Laboratory of Clinical Neurophysiology and EEG, where he partook in methodological preparation of psychiatric EEG research, elaboration of theoretical problems, studies on normal population and clinical research. In his work Prof. Volavka made use of his experience, contacts and superior laboratory equipment at London Hospital, where he worked in 1967. In Psychiatric Research Institute he collaborated with a group of psychiatrists, who represent Czech psychiatry research to this day. With Miloš Matoušek and Jiří Roubíček Prof. Volavka shared his interest in electrophysiology, which led to several collective publications in prestigious international journals. With them and with Pavel Grof he was lifetime friends, even though after 1968 each left the country for a different part of the world. In the time of Soviet invasion Prof. Volavka was a research fellow in Max Planck Institute in Munich. He chose not to return home. Instead he commenced and successfully finished a residency at New York Medical College under Max Fink‘s patronage. At the school he became first assistant and later associate professor. From 1976 to 1979 he was professor of psychiatry at University of Missouri in Saint Louis. After the closure of Missouri Institute of Psychiatry Prof. Volavka returned to New York to start a new chapter of his life and career. He started research programme at Manhattan Psychiatric Center, became professor of psychiatry at New York University and worked in the well-knownNathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research in Orangeburg, NY, where he led a research unit studying clinical psychopharmacology of psychoses. His studies and writings on psychiatry and pharmacotherapy of aggression and violence comprise part of the canon of contemporary psychiatry. His book "Neurobiology of Violence" is an indisputable classic.





 


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