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The 2014 Scientific Achievement Award winners are listed below.

John Jacob Abel Award in Pharmacology

Craig W. Lindsley, Ph.D.

Craig W. Lindsley, Ph.D., Director of Medicinal Chemistry for the Vanderbilt Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery and Center co-Director at Vanderbilt University is the recipient of the 2014 John J. Abel Award. Dr. Lindsley receives the John J. Abel Award as an outstanding young investigator in recognition of his fundamental and transforming impact on pharmacology, medicinal chemistry, and drug discovery in the fields of neuroscience and cancer biology.

Dr. Lindsley received his B.S. in Chemistry at California State University in Chico and earned his Ph.D. from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Following a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Harvard, he joined Parke-Davis Pharmaceuticals, then Eli Lilly, and shortly after that he joined Merck Research Laboratories as Senior Research Chemist. Several years after rising to Senior Research Fellow, he left Merck to join Vanderbilt University where he is currently Professor of Pharmacology and holds the William K. Warren, Jr. Chair in Medicine.

Dr. Lindsley is recognized as a world-class pharmacologist who has made contributions to multiple diverse areas of research, including novel approaches to pharmacology as well as medicinal chemistry, cell signaling and psychiatric and neurological disease and cancer. He has contributed greatly to the medicinal chemistry and molecular pharmacology of allosteric ligands, not only GPCRs but kinase, phospholipases, and ion channels as well. At Merck he advanced nascent programs that were based on cutting edge research but were not sufficiently advanced to warrant a large financial commitment to building a large research team. Dr. Lindsley was able to gain support for developing traditional medicinal chemistry with a technology-enabled synthesis approach to begin research into high-risk programs that would not otherwise been able to receive support. This work eventually led to developing high-quality compounds offering proof for targets in multiple therapeutic areas ranging from cancer to neuroscience. Ultimately, his work at Merck had a major impact on virtually every therapeutic area represented at Merck.

At Vanderbilt, his work has had a major impact through the discovery of the first selective and potent inhibitors of key regulatory enzymes, such as phospholipase D, discovery of highly selective allosteric activators, and inhibitors of GPCRs that were previously intractable, and discovery of novel modulators of ion transporters for which no ligands or tools previously existed.

Dr. Lindsley’s work has also contributed to major shifts in areas as diverse as G protein-coupled receptor signaling, psychiatry, neurology, and cancer research. Also, his discovery of novel modulators of protein kinases that are important drug targets in oncology has promising clinical significance.

Dr. Lindsley will be presented with the 2014 John J. Abel Award at the Business Meeting and Awards Ceremony at the ASPET Annual Meeting at Experimental Biology (EB) 2014 in San Diego, California. The Awards Ceremony will take place Saturday, April 26, 2014, at 6:00 p.m. at the San Diego Convention Center in Ballroom 20 B/C. Dr. Lindsley’s John J. Abel Award Lecture is titled “Exploiting Allosteric Sites for Target Modulation” and will be delivered on Monday, April 28, from 8:30 to 9:20 a.m. in Room 2 of the San Diego Convention Center.

Julius Axelrod Award in Pharmacology

Jeffrey L. Benovic, Ph.D.

Jeff BenovicDr. Jeffrey L. Benovic, Professor and Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the Thomas Eakins Endowed Professor at Thomas Jefferson University has been named recipient of the 2014 Julius Axelrod Award in Pharmacology by the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET). Dr. Benovic is recognized for his major contributions to research and his outstanding leadership and mentorship to several generations of trainees. 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. Benovic obtained his bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from Penn State University and earned his Ph.D. at Duke University under 2012 Nobel Laureate Robert Lefkowitz. Following a research associate position under Dr. Lefkowitz, Dr. Benovic moved to Temple University School of Medicine and subsequently to Thomas Jefferson University’s Department of Pharmacology where he has served in a number of leadership positions including Director of the Molecular Pharmacology and Structural Biology Ph.D. Program and Leader of the Cancer Cell Biology and Signaling Program at the Kimmel Cancer Center.

Dr. Benovic’s investigations opened up an entire new field of study. By applying biochemical approaches creatively and rigorously, he advanced our understanding of how G protein-coupled receptor function is regulated. In groundbreaking fashion, he demonstrated the biochemical mechanism of GPCR desensitization by G protein-coupled receptor kinases and arrestins. He discovered, purified, and cloned G protein-coupled receptor kinase 2 and characterized how it functioned in collaboration with arrestins to desensitize the receptors in a reconstituted biochemical system. Dr. Benovic ultimately discovered that ß-arrestins interact with clathrin to promote receptor internalization—one of the core paradigms in GPCR biology today. His studies in the model organism C. elegans have uncovered new roles for arrestins in the development of aging.

A committed educator and mentor of young pharmacologists and biochemists, Dr. Benovic’s contributions to predoctoral and postdoctoral training have been recognized by awards from the Jefferson Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and the Jefferson Postdoctoral Association. This devotion to mentoring young scientists and to the professional development of his students ensures that Dr. Benovic’s contributions to pharmacology extend well beyond his own scientific discoveries.

Dr. Benovic will be presented with the ASPET–Julius Axelrod Award in Pharmacology at the Business Meeting and Awards Ceremony at the ASPET Annual Meeting at Experimental Biology (EB) 2014 in San Diego, California. The Awards Ceremony will take place Saturday, April 26, 2014, at 6:00 p.m. at the San Diego Convention Center in Ballroom 20 B/C. Dr. Benovic will give the 2015 Julius Axelrod Lecture. The 2014 Julius Axelrod Award Lecture will be given by last year’s recipient, Lee Limbird, Ph.D., of Fisk University. Dr. Limbird will deliver a lecture, titled “Seasons of the Lives of Scientists: The Journey from Training Careers in Discovery to Service for Society,” on Sunday, April 27, from 8:30 to 9:20 a.m. in Room 2 of the San Diego Convention Center.

Pharmacia-ASPET Award for Experimental Therapeutics

Jürgen Wess, Ph.D.

Jurgen WessDr. Jϋrgen Wess, Chief of the Molecular Signaling Section at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases is the recipient of the 2014 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. Wess is one of the world’s leaders in the field of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), with particular focus on the family of muscarinic acetylcholine receptors. His pioneering work in the GPCR field has led to many fundamental new insights into how GPCRs function at the molecular level. Dr. Wess’ lab was among the first in the GPCR field to delineate the molecular mechanisms involved in ligand binding, receptor activation, and receptor/G protein coupling selectivity. In addition, his more recent studies with muscarinic receptor knockout/transgenic mice have suggested novel therapeutic approaches aimed at modulating muscarinic receptor function for therapeutic purposes, including new and useful treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, drug addiction, obesity, human growth disorders, diabetes, and schizophrenia.

Dr. Wess has been honored with the NIH Director’s Award for Scientific Excellence and serves as a member of the International Advisory Board of the Max-Planck Society. He has served on the Editorial Board of ASPET’s Journal of Molecular Pharmacology since 2001.

A native of Germany, Dr. Wess studied Pharmacy at the University of Frankfurt School of Pharmacy, where he also earned his Ph.D. in Pharmacology. Shortly after, he moved to the National Institutes of Health as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health and National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Dr. Wess will be presented with the Pharmacia-ASPET Award at the Business Meeting and Awards Ceremony at the ASPET Annual Meeting at Experimental Biology (EB) 2014 in San Diego, California. The Awards Ceremony will take place Saturday, April 26, 2014, at 6:00 p.m. at the San Diego Convention Center in Ballroom 20 B/C. 

Robert R. Ruffolo Career Achievement Award in Pharmacology

Ferdinando Nicoletti, M.D.

Nicoletti FerdinandoDr. Ferdinando Nicoletti, M.D., Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Rome School of Medicine is the recipient of the 2014 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, former President of Research and Development at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, and is given 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. Nicoletti receives this award for his pioneering work and career achievements in the area of metabotropic glutamate (mGlu) receptors.

Dr. Nicoletti has published original pharmacological studies that showed the existence of a second messenger linked glutamate receptors in brain tissue and has spent his entire career developing and leading this field. His seminal studies have extended our knowledge of the pharmacology and therapeutic potential of metabotropic glutamate receptors. These studies have implications for treatments in Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders as well as treatment for chronic pain and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). His groundbreaking work continues to guide the therapeutic relevance and clinical approaches of this class of agents by many other scientists in industry and academia. Dr. Nicoletti organized the first meeting on metabotripic glutamate receptors in 1991, and with his leadership, the meeting has now grown into an international event recognized as the premier scientific venue in this field.

A native of Italy, Dr. Nicoletti completed his medical degree and training in Medicine and Surgery at the University of Catania. He trained at NIMH and then at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., under the supervision of Prof. Erminio Costa before he was appointed as Associate Professor at the University of Perugia, Associate Professor at the University of Catania, and later as Full Professor at the University Sapienza of Rome.

Dr. Nicoletti will be presented with the Robert R. Ruffolo Career Achievement Award in Pharmacology at the Business Meeting and Awards Ceremony at the ASPET Annual Meeting at Experimental Biology (EB) 2014 in San Diego, California. The Awards Ceremony will take place Saturday, April 26, 2014, at 6:00 p.m. at the San Diego Convention Center in Ballroom 20 B/C. 

Bernard B. Brodie Award in Drug Metabolism

Bruce D. Hammock, Ph.D.

Bruce D. Hammock, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Entomology at the University of California at Davis is the recipient of the 2014 Bernard B. Brodie Award. The Brodie Award recognizes Dr. Hammock’s outstanding contributions to our understanding of human drug metabolism, transport, and to future research in the field.

Dr. Hammock received his B.S. in Entomology and Chemistry at Louisiana State University and earned his Ph.D., at the University of California at Berkeley where he stayed on as a postdoctoral fellow until he entered the Army. Following his service in the U.S. Army Academy of Health Science in San Antonio, Texas, he was a Rockefeller Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at Northwestern University. He received tenure at UC Riverside in the Toxicology Division and then moved to UC Davis where he is the Program Director of the NIEHS Superfund Research Program Project, Director of the NIH Biotechnology Training grant, and a founding Member of the UC Davis Medical School Comprehensive Cancer Center. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

Following his Ph.D. working on xenobiotic metabolism, Dr. Hammock has studied α/β hydrolase fold enzymes for over 35 years. He has made seminal contributions to our understanding of the α/β hydrolase fold enzymes that include epoxide hydrolases and esterases. His work has often been characterized by introducing innovative technologies into the drug metabolism field, and he was among the first academic scientists to use LC-MS for rapid monitoring of drug metabolism metabolomics as an indicator of target engagement, and AMS for ultrasensitive detection of 14C labeled drugs.

Dr. Hammock’s work continues to have substantial impact in the area of drug discovery and development. His collaborative studies as well as his tradition of sharing reagents has enabled investigators in both the private and public sector to make substantial advances in our understanding of the cytochrome P450 branch of the arachidonate cascade and have been critical for the development of potentially useful therapeutic compounds being evaluated as drug leads to treat stroke, atherosclerosis, heart failure, renal failure, inflammation, and neuropathic pain.

Dr. Hammock will be presented with the 2014 Bernard B. Brodie Award at the Business Meeting and Awards Ceremony at the ASPET Annual Meeting at Experimental Biology (EB) 2014 in San Diego, California. The Awards Ceremony will take place Saturday, April 26, 2014, at 6:00 p.m. at the San Diego Convention Center in Ballroom 20 B/C. Dr. Hammock’s 2014 Bernard B. Brodie Award Lecture is titled “Expoxide Hydrolases in Drug Metabolism and as Drug Targets” and will be delivered Monday, April 28, at 2:00 p.m. in Room 5A of the San Diego Convention Center.  

P.B. Dews Lifetime Achievement Award in Pharmacology

James H. Woods, Ph.D.

James H. WoodsJames H. Woods, Professor in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Michigan Medical School is the recipient of the 2014 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. Woods' 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.

A graduate of Ohio University with a degree in Commerce, Dr. Woods attended graduate school at the University of Virginia where he would also earn his Ph.D. Dr. Woods' outstanding contributions to behavioral pharmacology extend across a wide range of procedures, drug classes, conceptual frameworks, and public health issues. Beyond Dr. Woods' exemplary scientific achievements are equally significant contributions to teaching, service, and leadership.

Noted for his contributions to opioid pharmacology, Dr. Woods has made seminal contributions to many areas of pharmacology, including the application of classical receptor theory to study drug effects on behavior. He has tested the limits of receptor theory for guiding and interpreting drug effects on behavior. An additional major contribution by Dr. Woods and his colleagues involved the systemic analysis of drug abuse and dependence in studies of drug self-administration. His studies have made significant contributions to our understanding of drug reinforcement and drug abuse. Another influential research area involved the relationship between behavioral pharmacology and medicinal chemistry. For more than 40 years, he has worked tirelessly to advance drug development, with an emphasis on translational research.

Dr. Woods has published more than 420 original manuscripts as well as more than 100 book chapters and four books. He has served extensively on study sections, editorial boards, and advisory committees. His work and mentorship have earned Dr. Woods many prestigious awards. Dr. Woods has been a valued mentor to the next generation of behavioral pharmacologists, many of whom are now independent investigators and leaders in their respective fields.

Dr. Woods will be presented with the 2014 P.B. Dews Lifetime Achievement Award in Behavioral Pharmacology at the Business Meeting and Awards Ceremony at the ASPET Annual Meeting at Experimental Biology (EB) 2014 in San Diego, California. The Awards Ceremony will take place Saturday, April 26, 2014, at 6:00 p.m. at the San Diego Convention Center in Ballroom 20 B/C. Dr. Woods' 2014 P.B. Dews Lifetime Achievement Award Lecture is titled “The Stimulus Function of Drugs" and will be delivered Monday, April 28, from 2:00-2:50 p.m.

Goodman & Gilman Award in Receptor Pharmacology

Kenneth A. Jacobson, Ph.D.

Kenneth A. Jacobson, Ph.D., Senior Investigator and Chief of the Laboratory of Bioorganic Chemistry at the NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, is recipient of the 2014 ASPET Goodman & Gilman Award in Drug Receptor Pharmacology. This biennial award was established to recognize and stimulate outstanding research in the pharmacology of biological receptors. Such research is the foundation for a better understanding of the mechanisms of biological processes and potentially provides the basis for the discovery of drugs useful in the treatment of diseases. Dr. Jacobson receives this award for his international leadership and research in the field of pharmacology of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs).

Dr. Jacobson’s research in structure-based drug design and chemical synthesis and testing in cellular and animal models has made possible a large body of translational research. New drugs developed under his direction are currently being developed by private industry for therapeutic applications, primarily for cancer and inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, cardiac ischemia, and glaucoma. His NIH patents have been licensed to industry for development of therapeutic agents and widely used research tools.

Dr. Jacobson graduated from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, with a degree in Liberal Arts. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California at San Diego and was a Fellow at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel before joining the NIH. Dr. Jacobson is a past recipient of the Pharmacia-Award and was inducted into the Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame of the American Chemical Society.

Dr. Jacobson will be presented with the 2014 Goodman & Gilman Award in Drug Receptor Pharmacology at the Business Meeting and Awards Ceremony at the ASPET Annual Meeting at Experimental Biology (EB) 2014 in San Diego, California. The Awards Ceremony will take place Saturday, April 26, 2014, at 6:00 p.m. at the San Diego Convention Center in Ballroom 20 B/C. 

Paul M. Vanhoutte Award Distinguished Lectureship in Vascular Pharmacology

Sue P. Duckles, Ph.D.

Sue DucklesSue Piper Duckles, Ph.D., Professor Emerita in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of California at Irvine School of Medicine is the recipient of the 2014 Paul M. Vanhoutte Lectureship in Vascular Pharmacology. The lectureship was established to recognize scientific contributions that help our understanding and appreciation of the importance of endothelial cells and vascular smooth muscle function in health and disease.

Dr.Duckles receives this honor in recognition of her substantial lifelong scientific achievement and commitment in this research area. Her discoveries in cerebrovascular pharmacology have added significantly to our understanding of the function of the endothelium and vascular smooth muscle cells in cerebral arteries. Her work has also added to our understanding of the effects of sex hormones on the cerebral vasculature, focusing not only on the effects of estrogen but also on the delicate balance of the effects of estrogens and androgens. Dr. Duckles’ more recent studies on the impact of estrogen on mitochondrial function in cerebral arteries are groundbreaking.

Dr. Duckles received her B.A. in Philosophy from the University of California at Berkeley and her Ph.D. from the University of California at San Francisco. Following postdoctoral work and an assistant professorship at UCLA, she moved to the University of Arizona’s Department of Pharmacology until her move to Irvine in 1985. Beyond her groundbreaking scientific discoveries, Dr. Duckles has provided outstanding leadership to the discipline of pharmacology, serving ASPET tirelessly as President and Councilor and on many committees over three decades. She is past president of the International Union of Pharmacology and also served IUPHAR as Secretary General and General Assembly Delegate. Dr. Duckles is an Honorary Fellow of the British Pharmacological Society and was a recipient of the ASPET Torald Sollmann Award in Pharmacology.

She is renowned for her devotion to mentoring and her training and advocacy of junior scientists, not just those in her department but also young scientists who would meet or seek her out at scientific meetings where she earned a deserved reputation as an encouraging and supportive mentor for all.

Dr. Duckles will be presented with the 2014 Paul M. Vanhoutte Award Distinguished Lectureship in Vascular Pharmacology on Tuesday, April 29, 2014, at 4:30 p.m. in Room 3 of the San Diego Convention Center before delivering her lecture titled “Vascular Mysteries: More than the Sum of the Parts.”  

Last Updated: August 23, 2017

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