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The 2011 Scientific Achievement Award winners are listed below.

John J. Abel Award in Pharmacology

Laura M. Bohn

Laura BohnScripps Research Institute
Jupiter, Florida

Laura Bohn, Ph.D., Associate Professor at the Scripps Research Institute Department of Molecular Therapeutics, and Department of Neuroscience in Jupiter, Florida is the recipient of the 2011 John J. Abel Award, sponsored by Pfizer. Dr.Bohn receives the John J. Abel Award as an outstanding young investigator for her contributions that have helped shape the field of pharmacology.

Dr. Bohn received undergraduate degrees in Biochemistry and Chemistry from Virginia Tech. She received her Ph.D. from St. Louis University School of Medicine and began post doctoral training at Duke University Medical Center where she was promoted to assistant research professor. Following Duke, she accepted a position at the Ohio State University College of Medicine in the Department of Pharmacology, established her own laboratory, secured NIH funding, and was promoted with tenure. In 2009, she accepted a tenured associate professor position at Scripps in the Department of Molecular Therapeutics.

Dr. Bohn is recognized for her expertise in the regulation of G protein coupled receptor signaling and how it relates to drug responsiveness in vivo. She is particularly known for her work on serotonergic and opioid functions.

Dr. Bohn has received recognition research awards from Ohio State and has been named the Joseph Cochin Young Investigator Awardee by the College on the Problems of Drug Dependence in recognition of her contributions to the field of drug abuse and addiction research. She currently serves on the executive committee of the Neuropharmacology Division of ASPET, serves as an ad hoc reviewer of minority NRSA fellowships, and is a standing member of the Molecular Neuropharmacology and Signaling Study Section. She is the current mini-review editor for Molecular Pharmacology, an ASPET journal. Dr. Bohn is also active in community outreach to inform the public about her science and serves as mentor in the Kenan Scholars program that provides research experience to high school and undergraduate students in Palm Beach County, Florida.  

Julius Axelrod Award in Pharmacology

Elaine Sanders-Bush

Elaine Sanders-BushVanderbilt University
Nashville, Tennessee

Dr. Elaine Sanders-Bush has been named the recipient of the 2011 Julius Axelrod Award in Pharmacology by the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET).  Dr. Sanders-Bush is  Professor Emerita of Pharmacology  at Vanderbilt University and former Director of the Vanderbilt Brain Institute. The Julius Axelrod Award is given to recognize outstanding scientific contributions in research and mentoring. The Award was established to honor the memory of the eminent American pharmacologist who shaped the fields of neuroscience, drug metabolism and biochemistry.

Internationally known for her research on serotonin, a key brain chemical involved in normal behavior and brain diseases such as major depression and schizophrenia, Dr. Sanders-Bush arrived at Vanderbilt University in 1962 to pursue graduate training.  She earned a Ph.D. in Pharmacology and after postdoctoral training in psychopharmacology, she joined Vanderbilt as Assistant Professor of Pharmacology. During her tenure at Vanderbilt she has made seminal contributions to our understanding of serotonin synthesis, metabolism and function.  Her research has made a lasting impact on the field and helped shape our understanding of these important research areas.

Dr. Sanders-Bush has also been a leader in development of neuroscience research and graduate education at Vanderbilt.  She led the creation of a new Ph.D. program in Neuroscience and served as its director from  its inception in 1997 until 2008.  She has always taken a strong interest in training the next generation of neuroscientists, including the establishment of a partnership with Meharry Medical College to develop an innovative program for increasing diversity in scientific research.  In recognition of this outstanding commitment, she won Vanderbilt’s first Levi Watkins, Jr. Award for Leadership in Diversity in 2002.   

Pharmacia-ASPET Award in Experimental Therapeutics

Jan Balzarini

Jan BalzariniRega Institute for Medical Research
Leuven, Belgium

Dr. Jan Balzarini, of the Rega Institute for Medical Research at The Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium is the recipient of the 2011 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. Balzarini received his Master in Biological Sciences, Master in Bioscience Engineering,and Doctorate in Bioscience Engineering from the Katholieke Universiteit in Leuven.  He is recipient of the Pharmacia-ASPET Award for his outstanding contributions to the discovery, development, and molecular understanding of the pharmacology of antiviral and anticancer nucleoside and non-nucleoside agents.  He is internationally recognized as an expert in antiviral drug development and has identified new chemotherapeutic targets for antiviral and anticancer therapy. Dr. Balzarini has been at the forefront of, and directly involved in, the discovery and eventual pre-clinical development of a variety of entirely new and innovative therapeutic leads and concepts.   

Dr. Balzarini has received national and international awards including two international UNESCO prizes and the prestigious Rene Descartes prize of the European Commission for Scientific and Technological Excellence in European Collaborative Research. 

Epilepsy Research Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Pharmacology of Antiepileptic Drugs

Asla Pitkanen

Asla PitkanenUniversity of Eastern Finland
Kuopio, Finland

Dr. Asla Pitkanen, Professor of Neurobiology, University of Eastern Finland is the recipient of the 2011 ASPET-Epilepsy Award.  The Award is sponsored by ASPET and the International League Against Epilepsy.  The award is to recognize and stimulate outstanding research leading to better clinical control of epileptic seizures.

Dr. Pitkanen received her Masters in Biochemistry and Medical Degree from the University of Kuopio in Finland.  She began her career in neuroscience as a first year medical student, working with patients with multiple sclerosis and then Alzheimer’s disease. She began her research career in epilepsy by investigating GABA-A receptors in cortical cobalt model of epilepsy in the rat.   

Among Dr. Pitkanen’s many contributions to the study of epilepsy are her seminal contributions to our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of epileptogenesis, the process by which an injured brain becomes epileptic.  She has developed novel models of epilepsy induced by brain trauma and stroke.  She has pioneered use of magnetic resonance imaging in charactering these and other models.  These models provide a valuable framework for assessing efficacy of novel therapeutics aimed at prevention of epilepsy. 

Dr. Pitkanen is also active internationally in increasing the visibility of epilepsy research.  She was one of the organizers of a 2008 workshop on “Research Priorities in Epilepsy for the Next Decade.”  This workshop detailed epilepsy research priorities that should be investigated and funded in Europe.  She has served as Secretary General of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies, Member of the Commission of the European Affairs of the International League Against Epilepsy, Vice President of the Epilepsy Society of Finland, and as a Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the European Epileptology Meeting in Finland.    

Torald Sollmann Award

Marcus M. Reidenberg

Marcus ReidenbergMDWeill Cornell Medical College
New York, New York

Marcus M. Reidenberg, M.D., Professor of Pharmacology, Medicine, and Public Health at the Weill Cornell Medical College is recipient of the 2011 Torald Sollmann Award.  The Award was established to commemorate the pioneering work in America of Dr. Torald Sollmann in the fields of pharmacological investigation and education.  Dr. Reidenberg was selected for this Award because of his outstanding and productive research career, his significant contributions to medicine utilizing education, research, and service and his unparalleled service to ASPET and the discipline it represents.

Dr. Reidenberg majored in botany at Cornell University and received his M.D. from Temple University. After his internship, he was a postdoctoral fellow in pharmacology at Temple and in general practice while in the U.S. Navy.  Following his service, he returned to Temple as an Instructor in Pharmacology and Resident in Medicine.  He joined the faculty and would remain at Temple until 1975 when he moved to Cornell with faculty appointments in Pharmacology and Medicine.  He has been Assistant Dean since 1988, and received an appointment in the Department of Public Health in 2003. 

Dr. Reidenberg’s research has been in the area of clinical pharmacology.  His work has focused on reasons for individual differences in response to medications.  Dr. Reidenberg promoted the principle of proper controls to study adverse drug reactions and reported that patients with renal failure metabolized some non-excreted drugs differently than patients with normal kidney function.  His report of impaired plasma protein binding of organic acids proved essential for proper interpretation of drug levels in patients and his data for phenytoin binding is in clinical use today.  He recognized that individual differences in dose-response could be used to improve therapeutics, and he moved the concept of individualized drug therapy into the mainstream.   Dr. Reidenberg raised the banner of addressing control of symptoms in 1982 and over the past 25 years the broad concept of symptom control has gained mainstream acceptance in medicine.  More recently, treatment of chronic pain and the pharmacology of gossypol for reproductive health and cancer have been subjects of his 50-year research career. 

Over many years, Dr. Reidenberg has provided exemplary leadership to the discipline of pharmacology, including roles in ASPET, IUPHAAR, ASCPT, and advisory service to the FDA and NIH.  He has worked extensively with the World Health Organization and its Essential Medicines Program and is a member of the WHO Expert Panel on the Selection and Use of Essential Drugs.  Dr. Reidenberg served as WHO advisor to the Ministry of Health of the People’s Republic of China in 1993 and is currently active in the Essential Medicines activities of WHO. 

Dr. Reidenberg's lecture is entitled “Drug Discontinuation Effects are Part of the Pharmacology of a Drug: Cardiovascular Drug Discontinuations,” will be presented on Tuesday, April 12 from 8:30-9:20 am in Room 143A/B of the Washington Convention Center. 

Drug Metabolism Division Early Career Achievement Award

Emily E. Scott

Emily ScottUniversity of Kansas
Lawrence, Kansas

Dr. Emily Scott, Associate Professor in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Kansas is the recipient of the 2011 Drug Metabolism Early Career Achievement Award, established by ASPET’s Division for Drug Metabolism to recognize excellent original research by early career investigators in the area of drug metabolism and disposition.

After graduating with a degree in Marine Biology from Texas A&M University in Galveston, Dr. Scott would earn her Ph.D. from Rice University.  In 2004, following postdoctoral work at Rice and the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Dr. Scott accepted a faculty position as Assistant Professor at the University of Kansas. 

Dr. Scott has made important contributions to the field of drug metabolism by publishing a series of pioneering papers on cytochrome P450 structure-function relationships.  She has firmly established herself as one of the leading figures in P450 structure and mechanism studies.  Her work has had a tremendous impact not only on the field of drug metabolism, but also on a number of other related research related areas of significant clinical and public health concerns, such as lung cancer chemoprevention and mechanisms of chemical toxicity.

Dr. Scott is also actively involved in the professional aspects of the drug metabolism field, serving as Councilor of ASPET’s Drug Metabolism Division and having organized several symposia.  She also actively participates in teaching at the University of Kansas and serves as Course Coordinator for several classes.  Additionally, Dr. Scott directs Masters and Ph.D. research of several students at Kansas.

Dr. Scott will present a lecture, titled “(CYP)2B or Not 2B: That is the Question,” on Tuesday, April 12 from 2:00-2:50 p.m. in room 140B of the Washington Convention Center. 

Benedict R. Lucchesi Distinguished Lecture in Cardiac Pharmacology

David J. Lefer

David LeferEmory University
Atlanta, Georgia

David J. Lefer, Ph.D., Professor of Surgery and Director of Cardio-thoracic Surgery Research Laboratories at Emory University School of Medicine is recipient of the 2011 Benedict Lucchesi Award in Cardiac Pharmacology. The biennial award was established to honor Dr. Lucchesi’s lifelong scientific contributions to our better understanding and appreciation of pharmacological treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease and for his mentoring of many cardiovascular pharmacologists.  Dr. Lefer was selected for this Award in recognition of his scientific leadership in the field of ischemia/reperfusion (heart attacks) and cardio-protection and his commitment to mentoring the next generation of cardiovascular scientists.

Dr. Lefer received his Ph.D. from Wake Forest University Bowman Gray School of Medicine.  Following postdoctoral training at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, he received a faculty appointment as Assistant Professor at Tulane University School of Medicine.  Dr. Lefer moved to the LSU Health Science Center in Shreveport, where he would become Professor with Tenure. Prior to coming to Emory, he was Professor with Tenure in the Division of Cardiology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. 

Dr. Lefer is an internationally renowned leader in understanding the role of nitric oxide and other nitrogen oxide-metabolites in ischemia-reperfusion injury to the heart.  Recently, his laboratory has discovered cardio-protective actions of hydrogen sulfide in the context of acute myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury and heart failure.  His research has huge potential for clinical application in patients with coronary artery disease.  Dr. Lefer also serves as Co-Director of the NIH-funded Consortium for the Evaluation of Cardio-protective Agents that helps translate basic science insights into clinical practice. 

Dr. Lefer is actively involved in teaching and mentoring of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and junior scientists, many of whom have begun to make an impact in cardiovascular research.  He has received many awards in recognition of his outstanding research including the ASPET Young Investigators Award in Cardiovascular Pharmacology and the Merck Young Investigators Atherosclerosis Award. 

Dr. Lefer will be presented the Benedict Lucchesi Award at his lecture.  Dr. Lefer’s lecture is entitled “Hydrogen Sulfide and the Cardiovascular System: Deadly Toxin or Promising Therapeutic,” and will be presented on Monday, April 11 from 4:30-5:30 pm in Room 140B of the Washington Convention Center.

Graduate Student Travel Awards

AlTarifi, Ahmad
Virginia Commonwealth University  

Amato, Russell
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center  

Asano, Shinichi
West Virginia University  

Bakhshi, Farnaz
University of Illinois at Chicago   

Batchu, Sri Nagarjun
University of Alberta  

Bigham, Kevin
Medical University of South Carolina  

Bisen-Hersh, Emily
Temple University  

Boyd Tressler, Andrea
Case Western Reserve University  

Brim, Remy
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor  

Brock, Paula
University of Utah  

Brown, Loren
University of California, San Diego  

Canto, Isabel
University of California, San Diego  

Chan, Noel Yan-Ki
Weill Cornell Medical College  

Chan, Pui Yee
University of Rochester  

Chaudhary, Ketul
University of Alberta   

Chavez, Alejandra
University of Illinois, Chicago  

Choi, Hyehun
Medical College of Georgia  

Cook, Ian
University of Alabama, Birmingham  

Cortez, Lisa
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Culmer, Tyechia
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill  

Davis, Robert
Michigan State University  


Eno, Colins
University of Louisville  

Fraser, Rheaclare
University of Michigan, Michigan  

Gabay, Meital
University of Rochester  

Gallops, Jenna
Medical College of Georgia  

Gillory, Ashley
University of Houston  

Goodwill, Adam
West Virginia University  

Gould, Robert
Wake Forest University Health Sciences  

Harmon, Brendan
Northeastern University  

Jabba, Sairam
Creighton University  

Olan. University of New Mexico  

Johnson, Andrew
The University of Iowa  

Kan, Wei
University of Rochester Medical Center  

Kehrl, Jason
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor  

Kenaan, Cesar
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor  

Kleinedler, James
Louisiana State University Health Science Center, Shreveport  

Kuhlman, Christopher
University of Arizona  

Labazi, Hicham
Medical College of Georgia  

Li, Wenjun
University of Florida  

Liu, Yanan
University of Hong Kong  

Ma, Wanshu
Auburn University  

Mackie, Duncan
University of Iowa  

Malik, Rohit
Loyola University, Chicago  

Manvich, Daniel
Emory University

Mastrandrea, Nicholas
University of Arizona  

Mathews, Stephanie
University of Louisville  

McGee, Marie
East Carolina Univerity  


Modgil, Amit
North Dakota State University  

Monroy, Carlos
University of Iowa  


Mukherjee, Kamalika
University of Kentucky  

Naikawadi, Ram
University of Illinois,Chicago  

Ocal, Ozhan
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas  

Osterlund, Kristen
University of Arizona, Phoenix, College of Medicine  

Pathak, Elina
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences  

Posada, Maria
University of Michigan  

Runkle, Aaron
Pennsylvania State University  

Russell, Gilandra
University of Louisville  

Salman, Emily
University of Alabama at Birmingham  

Shukla, Praveen
North Dakota State University  

Soto, Antonio
University of California, San Diego  

Sridharan, Meera
Saint Louis University  

Swan, Christina
Vanderbilt University  

Taneja, Manish
University of Houston  

Thangaraju, Arunkumar
Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences  

Thennes, Tracy
University of Illinois, Chicago  

Vadali, Shanthi
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences  

Vikram, Ajit
National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER

Yano, Hideaki
Columbia University  

Yeung, Jennifer
Thomas Jefferson University  

Zhang, Lianghui
University of Rochester Medical Center  

Young Scientist Travel Awards

Bauzo, Rayna.  University of Florida  

Clayton, Cecilea.  Oregon Health & Science University  

Corriden, Ross.  University of Nottingham  

Garcia-Marcos, Mikel.  University of California, San Diego  

Giachini, Fernanda.  Medical College of Georgia  

Hamilton, Lindsey.  United States Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense  

Kennedy, Eileen.  University of Georgia  

Khan, Abdul.  Medical College of Wisconsin  

Kinsey, Steven.  Virginia Commonwealth University  

Lyon, Angeline.  University of Michigan, Ann Arbor  

Murnane, Kevin.  Emory University  

Pan, Hua.  Washington University
School of Medicine

Pan, Yuzhuo.  State University of New York, Buffalo  

Raehal, Kirsten.  The Scripps Research Institute, Florida  

Romano, Silvia.  University of California, San Diego  


Saito, Kosuke.  National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences  

Sayyah, Jacqueline.  Univeresity of California, San Diego  

Sjogren, Benita.  University of Michigan, Ann Arbor  

Smith, Tricia.  Virginia Commonwealth University  

Sonkusare, Swapnil.  University of Vermont  

Streicher, John.  The Scripps Research Institute, Florida  

Tauseef, Mohammad.  University of Illinois, Chicago (UIC

Tranter, Michael.  University of Cincinnati College of Medicine  

Wang, Andy.  The Scripps Research Institute, Florida  

Wang, Zhican.  University of Washington  

Xiang, Sunny.  University of California, San Deigo  

Yao, Lin.  Medical College of Georgia  

Yeh, Yueh-Chiao.  Graduate Institute of Natural Healing Sciences  

SURF Travel Awards

Darios, Emma.  Michigan State University (Stephanie Watts)

Faloon, Jordan. University of New England  (Ed Bilsky)

MacDonald, Molly. Michigan State University (Carrie Northcott)

McNally, Anna, Middlebury College (Michael Rogawski)

Helsley, Robert. University of Cincinnati (William Jones)

Feshitan, Hamzat. University at Buffalo (Margarita Dubocovich)

Pattison, Jillian. Kenyon College (Stephanie Watts)

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