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2012 ASPET Award Winners

 

Julius Axelrod Award

Gavril W. Pasternak, M.D., Ph.D.

 

Gavril W. PasternakDr. Gavril Pasternak has been named recipient of the 2012 Julius Axelrod Award in Pharmacology by the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET).   Dr. Pasternak holds the Anne Burnett Tandy Chair in Neurology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and is Professor of Neurology & Neuroscience, Pharmacology and Psychiatry at the Weill Medical School of Cornell University.  He is recognized for his major contributions into the differential roles of opiate receptor subtypes in relieving pain with diminished side effects.  The Julius Axelrod Award, named after the 1970 Nobel Prize winner in Physiology or Medicine, is given to recognize outstanding scientific contributions in research and mentoring in pharmacology. The Award was established to honor the memory of the eminent American pharmacologist who shaped the fields of neuroscience, drug metabolism and biochemistry.

Dr. Pasternak received his Bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Johns Hopkins where he also obtained his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees and clinical training in neurology.  Following completion of his neurology residency, Dr. Pasternak joined the faculty of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center where he has remained.

Throughout his career Pasternak’s research has focused upon characterization of opiate receptors.  As a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University, he was part of the team that identified and characterized opiate receptors and showed how they mediate the actions of these drugs.  In his independent laboratory at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, Pasternak focused upon subtypes of opiate receptors.  Three principal types of opiate receptors had been discriminated and differentiated by pharmacologic analysis and molecular cloning as mu, delta and kappa, with the mu receptors being the principal mediators of analgesic effects of most opiates.  Utilizing both ligand binding and molecular biological techniques, Pasternak uncovered several novel receptors derived by alternative splicing of the mu opiate receptor gene.  His discoveries markedly altered our understanding of how opiates act and have led to novel, potent analgesics with markedly reduced side effects.  One subtype of opiate receptor discovered by Pasternak responds more effectively to morphine than heroin, while another responds to heroin but not morphine.  In recent research, by sculpting molecules selective for receptor subtypes, Pasternak has discovered new opiate drugs that are 100 times more potent than morphine with diminished adverse effects and do not appear to cause physical dependence.

Dr. Pasternak’s accomplishments have been recognized by numerous awards including the Anne Burnett Tandy Chair in Neurology, the John Bonica Award, the S. Weir Mitchell of the American Academy of Neurology, fellowship in the American Academy of Neurology and election to the Johns Hopkins University Society of Scholars.


John Jacob Abel Award

Jin Zhang, Ph.D.

 

Jin ZhangJin Zhang, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences, Neuroscience, and Oncology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine is the recipient of the 2012 John J. Abel Award, sponsored by Pfizer.  Dr. Zhang receives the John J. Abel Award as an outstanding young investigator for her contributions to cellular enzymology that have helped shape the field of pharmacology.

Dr. Zhang received a B.S. in chemistry from Tsinghua University in China.  She completed her Ph.D. at the University of Chicago where she was recognized for her graduate studies on the problem of virulence in the plant pathogen Agrobacterium tumefaciens.  Her postdoctoral studies began at the University of California at San Diego where her collaborative work is now being intensively applied in academic cell signaling labs and in the pharmaceutical industry in drug development programs.  In 2003, Dr. Zhang was recruited as Assistant Professor to Johns Hopkins where she has developed a robust independent research program.  She has refined the protein kinase A reporter which has allowed for greater sensitivity and temporal responsiveness, leading to several applications in neuroscience, metabolism, cell invasion, and drug screening.  Her research group has recently published research that reveals the oscillatory connection between calcium signaling and protein kinase A in pancreatic β cells, providing new insights about how insulin secretion is regulated.  Dr. Zhang has also developed novel fluorescent sensors for second messengers for cyclic AMP and phosphatidyl inositides.  Dr. Zhang’s sensors are now used in over 100 labs worldwide.

Dr. Zhang has been featured over a three month appointment as the “Ask the Expert” columnist, a high-profile feature of the journal ACS Chemical Biology. She has also served as an ad hoc member of a number of NIH panels.  Dr. Zhang is recipient of the highly acclaimed NIH Pioneer Award and has chaired or organized several sessions at international meetings in molecular imaging.  She was a Chair of the Gordon Research Conference on Signaling in 2010. 


Pharmacia-ASPET Award for Experimental Therapeutics

Angela M. Brodie, Ph.D.

 

Angela H. BrodieDr. Angela Hartley Brodie, Ph.D., Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, is the recipient of the 2012 Pharmacia-ASPET Award for Experimental Therapeutics.  The Pharmacia-ASPET Award for Experimental Therapeutics is given annually to recognize and stimulate outstanding research in pharmacology and experimental therapeutics—basic laboratory or clinical research that has had, or potentially will have, a major impact on the pharmacological treatment of disease.  This award is funded by an endowment from Pharmacia (now Pfizer) and by ASPET.

Dr. Brodie earned her Ph.D., in Chemical Pathology from the University of Manchester, United Kingdom.  After receiving her Ph.D., she was awarded a fellowship from the NIH for postdoctoral training at Clark University and the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology in Massachusetts.  She remained as a staff scientist and later became senior scientist at the Worcester Foundation.  She would later join the University of Maryland as Research Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics in the School of Medicine.  Now Full Professor, she also has appointments in the Department of Physiology and the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center.

Dr. Brodie’s major research interests are in breast cancer treatment and the development and use of aromatase inhibitors and new treatments for prostate cancer.  She is an internationally recognized scientist for her pioneering research on aromatase inhibitors for treatment of breast cancer. Her discoveries have provided hope for women who were previously unresponsive to widely accepted forms of breast cancer treatment.  Her pioneering studies led to the development of aromatase inhibitors that are now approved by the FDA for treatment of breast cancer.  She has expanded her research to investigate inhibitors of androgen synthesis as potential agents for treating prostate cancer.

As testimony to her major research accomplishments she has been awarded many of the leading cancer awards including the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation’s Brinker International Award for Breast Cancer Research, the Landon Award from the American Association of Cancer Research, and the Kettering Prize from the General Motors Cancer Research Foundation.   Dr. Brodie is also involved in the training of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and teaches in medical and graduate pharmacology courses.  She has served on many NIH and NCI study sections as well as a reviewer and member of the integration panel for the U.S. Army Department of Defense Army Breast Cancer Program.  She is also a member of the Advisory Board for the Komen Foundation.


The Goodman and Gilman Award in Receptor Pharmacology

V. Craig Jordan, Ph.D.

 

V. Craig JordanV. Craig Jordan, OBE, Ph.D., DSc, FBPharmacolS, FMedSci Professor of Oncology and Pharmacology and Scientific Director at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University Medical Center, is recipient of the 2012 ASPET Goodman and Gillman Award in Drug Receptor Pharmacology.  The biennial Award, was established to recognize and stimulate outstanding research in the pharmacology of biological receptors.   Such research might provide a better understanding of the mechanisms of biological processes and potentially provide the basis for the discovery of drugs useful in the treatment of diseases.  Dr. Jordan receives this award for his seminal contributions in developing the pioneering breast cancer drug, tamoxifen.

Dr. Jordan obtained his B.S. and Ph.D., degrees in Pharmacology from the University of Leeds, England.  While a faculty member at the Worcester Foundation for Experimental biology and at the University of Leeds, he advanced tamoxifen from a failed contraceptive to the treatment and prevention of breast cancer.  At the University of Wisconsin Comprehensive Cancer Center where he was Director of the Breast Cancer Research and Treatment Program, he developed the practical concept of selective estrogen receptor modulation.  He would later move to Northwestern University where he was Director of the Lynn Sage Breast Cancer Research Program.  Shortly thereafter he would become Vice President and Research Director of Medical Sciences at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. He moved to Georgetown in 2009.

A recipient of many of the highest honors in science, Dr. Jordan is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a recipient of the Brinker International Award for Basic Science from the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the Charles F. Kettering Prize from the General Motors Cancer Research Foundation, and the American Cancer Society Medal of Honor.  Queen Elizabeth II inducted him an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to international breast cancer research.  Dr. Jordan also has been honored with the St. Gallen Prize for Breast Cancer Research, considered the most prestigious Breast Cancer Prize in the World.  He is an honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Science (UK equivalent of the Institute of Medicine).  He is a Fellow of the British Pharmacological Society. 


The Bernard B. Brodie Award in Drug Metabolism

 Yuichi Sugiyama, Ph.D.


Yuichi SugiyamaYuichi Sugiyama, Ph.D., Professor and Chair in the Department of Molecular Pharmacokinetics and Professor in the Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Regulatory Sciences at the University of Tokyo is the recipient of the 2012 Bernard B. Brodie Award.   The Brodie Award recognizes Dr. Sugiyama’s outstanding contributions to our understanding of human drug metabolism, transport, and to future research in the field.  Dr. Sugiyama received his B.S. in Pharmacy and Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Tokyo. 

Dr. Sugiyama is a world leader in the pharmacological and pharmaceutical sciences via integrative studies on the pharmacokinetics and membrane transport of drugs.   He has spearheaded the era of physiologically-based pharmacokinetics and brought molecular aspects and inter-individual variation due to genetic polymorphism to light.  His work has highlighted the importance of considering pharmacokinetic properties of new entities in drug development, using high-throughput screening methods to test large numbers of drug candidates. Over his career, Dr. Sugiyama’s research has had a profound impact on how we understand drug disposition among the population, drug-drug interaction, and drug development.

He is internationally recognized by many prestigious awards including, the Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon, bestowed by the Government of Japan to the most highly honored scientists.  He is also recipient of the ISSX Asian Pacific Scientific Achievement Award, AAPS (American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists) Distinguished Pharmaceutical Scientist Award, FIP Host-Madsen Gold Medal, and the Pharmaceutical Science World Congress Research Achievement Award. 

Dr. Sugiyama is coauthor of more than 570 original publications in international journals, and is among one of the world’s most cited pharmaceutical scientists.  He has served as an editorial board member of several international journals, including as an Editorial Committee member for Annual Review of Pharmacol Toxicol (current member) and as Editor in Japan of Pharmaceutical Research, Biopharmaceutics & Drug Disposition, and the AAPS Pharm. Sci.


The Robert R. Ruffolo Career Achievement Award in Pharmacology

Robert J. Lefkowitz, M.D.

 

Robert LefkowitzRobert J. Lefkowitz, M.D., Howard Hughes Medial Institute Investigator and James B. Duke Professor of Medicine and Biochemistry at the Duke University Medical Center, is the recipient of the 2012 Robert R. Ruffolo Career Achievement Award in Pharmacology. The award was established in recognition of the contributions made to drug discovery and development by Dr. Ruffolo to recognize the scientific achievements of scientists who are at the height of their careers and who have made significant contributions to any area of pharmacology.


Dr. Lefkowitz received his B.A. in chemistry and M.D. from Columbia University. Following two years of house staff training in Internal Medicine at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center and two year fellowship at the NIH, he moved to Massachusetts General Hospital where he completed his medical residency and research and clinical training in cardiovascular disease.  Upon completion of this training he was appointed Associate Professor of Medicine and Assistant Professor of Biochemistry at Duke Medical Center.

Dr. Lefkowitz is renowned for his studies in receptor biology and signal transduction, most notably the characterization of the sequence, structure and function of the β-adrenergic and related receptors.  He is also known for the discovery and characterization of the two families of proteins which regulate them, the G-protein coupled receptor kinases (GRKs) and β-arrestins.  Dr. Lefkowitz’s lab also cloned the genes for the β-adrenergic receptor, and then rapidly thereafter, eight other adrenergic receptors.  This work has had profound implications for understanding hormone and drug receptor interactions and the mechanisms by which they are regulated. He is among the most highly cited researchers in the fields of biology, biochemistry, pharmacology, toxicology and clinical medicine.  He is also widely recognized among peers for his dedication to mentoring and his tireless devotion to his students.


P.B. Dews Lifetime Achievement Award in Pharmacology

James E. Barrett, Ph.D.


Jim BarrettJames E. Barrett, Professor and Chair of the Department of Pharmacology & Physiology at Drexel University College of Medicine is the recipient of the 2012 P.B. Dews Lifetime Achievement Award in Behavioral Pharmacology. The award is given in alternate years and honors the fundamental contributions of P.B. Dews to behavioral pharmacology. Dr. Barrett’s many contributions to behavioral pharmacology built and expanded upon the many intellectual foundations laid by Peter B. Dews and the broader field of behavioral pharmacology.

Dr. Barrett’s research involves nearly every major aspect of behavioral pharmacology. His numerous research accomplishments have focused on some of the most important concepts and questions in the field of behavioral pharmacology, with particular emphasis on the behavioral determinants of drug action. An important part of Dr. Barrett’s research involved the concepts of environmental context and behavioral history. A landmark study of his showed that a specific behavioral history could impact the behavioral effects of drugs in an orderly and predictable fashion. Dr. Barrett has also dedicated a great deal of research to animal models of neuropsychiatric disorders, especially affective disorders.

Dr. Barrett received his B.A. in Psychology from the University of Maryland and his Ph.D. in Psychology and Neurobiology from Penn State University. Following postdoctoral training at the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology he received faculty appointments at the University of Maryland and Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD. He moved to the pharmaceutical industry, first at Lederle Laboratories where he was Director of Central Nervous System Research. His move to Wyeth followed its merger with Lederle where he was Vice President of Neuroscience Discovery Research. He has also held positions as Chief Scientific Officer and President of Research at Adolor Corporation and served as Vice President of Research and Development at Memory Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Barrett has published more than 275 scientific articles, books and abstracts. He has served on numerous NIH review committees and serves on several editorial boards. He was a Past President of the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET) and currently serves as Chair of ASPET’s Board of Publication Trustees. For several years, he was a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the New England Regional Primate Research Center at Harvard Medical School. He is Past President of the Behavioral Pharmacology Society and has served on the board and committees of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). Throughout his career, Dr. Barrett has also been recognized by many colleagues for his great commitment and dedication to teaching and mentoring. Now at Drexel, he established a Masters Program in Drug Discovery and Development to help more fully instruct students on pharmaceutical industry career development.

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