Public Release: 

Spinal cord injury expert to be honored by research foundation

World-renowned Rutgers neuroscientist Wise Young recognized

Rutgers University

NEW BRUNSWICK/PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Dr. Wise Young, the Richard H. Shindell Professor of Neuroscience at Rutgers University and founding director of Rutgers' W.M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience, is receiving the Melvyn H. Motolinsky Research Foundation's 2007 Distinguished Service Award.

The award will be presented at the foundation's annual meeting Oct. 28 at 2 p.m. in the Conference Center of the Clinical Academic Building at University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick.

Dr. Clifton R. Lacy, president of the Motolinsky Foundation, associate professor of medicine at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and adjunct professor at Rutgers University Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, said that Dr. Young was selected to receive the award because of his groundbreaking research in the treatment of spinal cord injury as well as his passionate support of stem cell research. "We also recognize the compassion and caring he shows for individuals with spinal cord injury and their families," Lacy said.

Young is a world leader in the area of spinal cord injury and treatment. He is an outspoken advocate for stem cell research, a potential source of nerve cell regeneration therapies for damaged spinal cord tissue and other devastating conditions, such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. Young is taking a leadership position at home and abroad in gathering support for stem cell research and has carried his strong advocacy to patients and politicians in the state and into the halls of Congress.

Young practices what he calls "compassionate science," focusing on the needs of patients. He personally involves himself with people who have sustained these injuries and their families, holding regular open-house evenings at the Keck Center, where they are updated on the latest research findings and newest therapies.

At the Keck Center, Young assembled a team of researchers who collaborate with more than 100 laboratories worldwide in the search for cures to spinal cord injuries and brain injuries and disorders. He recently embarked on an initiative to set up a clinical network of more than a dozen spinal trauma centers in China capable of performing state-of-the-art clinical trials.

"I am truly honored to be amongst such eminent recipients of the Distinguished Service Award as Mason Gross, Denton Cooley and Clifton Lacy," Young said. "To me, this award is not just an honor but recognition that scientists do science not just for its own sake but for the people who will benefit from that science."

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The Motolinsky Foundation was established as a living memorial to Melvyn H. Motolinsky, an outstanding New Brunswick lawyer who died of leukemia at age 25 in 1969. The foundation's $1.75 million endowment supports research into leukemia and other blood-related diseases. Most of its programs are at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and include the Melvyn H. Motolinsky Laboratory for Hematology Research, the Motolinsky Hematology Fellowship Program and the Melvyn H. and Ab Motolinsky Professorship in Hematology.

For the past 30 years, the foundation has granted its annual Distinguished Service Award to honorees for outstanding service to the community. The first honoree was Mason Gross, the late president of Rutgers. Other recipients have included Dr. Denton H. Cooley, a pioneer in open heart surgery; Dr. Clifton R. Lacy, former New Jersey Commissioner of Health and Senior Services and former president of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital; and Dr. Harold Paz, former president of Robert Wood Johnson University Medical School. Honorees and nominees have been recognized for their outstanding leadership, community service and contributions to the fields of medicine and medical research.

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