Michigan State and University of Texas scientists receive Sanberg Awards from ASNTR

April 30th, 2012
At the 19th Annual Conference of the American Society of Neural Therapy and Repair (ASNTR), held April 26 – 28 in Clearwater Beach, Florida, the ASNTR awarded The 2011 Bernard Sanberg Memorial Award for Brain Repair to Timothy J. Collier, PhD, professor of translational science and molecular medicine at Michigan State University and director of the Udall Center of Excellence in Parkinson's Disease Research at Michigan State University and the University of Cincinnati. ASNTR also presented The Molly and Bernard Sanberg Memorial Award to Sean I. Savitz, MD, associate professor of neurology at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston.

The 2011 Bernard Sanberg Memorial Award for Brain Repair

The 2011 award was presented in recognition of Dr. Collier's long career studying the neurobiology of aging, work that has included investigation of the role of dopamine in neuron biology as applied to aging, Parkinson's disease, and experimental therapeutics. Dr. Collier was part of a team that first examined cell transplantation in nonhuman primate models of Parkinson's disease.

The award is named for Bernard Sanberg, father of Dr. Paul Sanberg (University of South Florida), a co-founder of the ASNTR. After Bernard Sanberg died of a stroke in 1999, the award bearing his name was established and is presented by the ASNTR annually to an individual who has made outstanding research contributions in the field of neural therapy and repair. The award, first presented in 2000, is presented every year at ASNTR's Annual Meeting.

" Professor Collier has been a leader in the field of cellular repair for Parkinson's disease for over 25 years and consistently has brought new ideas forward on how to stimulate growth and survival of neurons that are crucial for maintenance of proper brain function," said John Sladek, PhD, director for Outreach and Development, Center for Neuroscience, and professor of Neurology, Pediatrics and Neuroscience at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. "As director of the highly coveted Morris Udall Center of Excellence for Parkinson's Disease Research he is in an ideal position to make breakthroughs that will accelerate the transfer of new research into the clinics. As his postdoctoral mentor, I couldn't be prouder of his accomplishments and look forward to his next important discovery."

Recent past winners of the award include Donald Eugene Redmond, MD, (2011), Shinn-Zong Lin, MD, PhD (2010) Howard J. Federoff, MD, PhD, Georgetown University (2009); Paul Carvey, PhD, Rush University Medical Center (2008); Barry Hoffer, MD, PhD, NIDA/NIH (2007); and John Sladek, PhD, University of Colorado (2006).

The Molly and Bernard Sanberg Memorial Award

In recognition of his significant contributions to the field of brain repair after stroke, the Molly and Bernard Sanberg Memorial Award was presented to Dr. Savitz for his work in developing novel therapies for ischemic stroke. The award also recognizes his work in animal model and clinical research focused on cell-based therapies, such as the use of bone marrow cells to enhance recovery from stroke. His research into cell-based therapies also includes work with cells derived from the umbilical cord and placenta.

The Molly and Bernard Sanberg Memorial Award is presented periodically by the ASNTR to an outstanding scientist who has made a significant contribution to the field of brain repair. It is a special coincidence that Bernard Sanberg was medically treated at the same institution where Dr. Savitz now works on important new therapies for stroke sufferers.

"Dr. Savitz is a true physician scientist," said Alison Willing, PhD, professor, Center for Excellence in Aging and Brain Repair, Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair, University of South Florida. "He works with stroke patients every day, but it is not enough for him to just treat them or make them comfortable. He has worked tirelessly in his preclinical studies to define the best methods to treat his patients and is the first Principal Investigator to initiate clinical trials using autologous bone marrow cells for the treatment of stroke."

Provided by University of South Florida (USF Health)

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