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Yale and University of South Florida scientists receive Sanberg Awards from ASNTR

Awards recognize impact in neural therapy and brain repair

University of South Florida (USF Health)

Tampa, Fla. (May 4, 2015) - At the 22nd Annual Conference of the American Society of Neural Therapy and Repair (ASNTR), held April 30 - May 2 in Clearwater Beach, Florida, ASNTR awarded The 2015 Bernard Sanberg Memorial Award for Brain Repair to John D. Elsworth, PhD, Professor and Senior Research Scientist in Psychiatry, Division of Neural Transplant and Neurobehavior Program, Yale School of Medicine. ASNTR also presented The Molly and Bernard Sanberg Memorial Award to Cesar V. Borlongan, PhD, Professor and Vice Chairman for Research, Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair, University of South Florida (USF) Morsani College of Medicine and Director of the USF Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair.

The 2015 Bernard Sanberg Memorial Award for Brain Repair

The 2015 award was presented in recognition of Dr. Elsworth's significant research contributions that have included research into cell-based and gene therapy approaches for protecting, repairing or replacing dysfunctional systems involved in motor and cognitive aspects of Parkinson's disease and schizophrenia and also his research into the mechanisms and implications of susceptibility of dopamine neurons to perturbations at different periods of development.

Dr. Elsworth holds a Bachelor's Degree in Pharmacology from the University of London, School of Pharmacy (1975) and a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of London (1980). He was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Pharmacology at Yale University from 1980-1982.

"Dr. Elsworth has been a pioneer in the development of cellular therapies for Parkinson's disease and has played a key role in developing the MPTP model, fetal tissue transplants, and stem cell replacements," said Dr. Eugene Redmond, Professor of Psychiatry and Neurosurgery at Yale and former President of ASNTR. "He has also carried out research to delineate the role of the catecholamine systems in Parkinson's, schizophrenia, and development in primates and humans."

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 Elsworth, who has been a long time leader in cell transplantation and gene therapy, is quite deserving of this award," said John Sladek, PhD, Professor of Neurology, Pediatrics and Neuroscience, Department of Neurology, University of Colorado School of Medicine

Recent past winners of the Bernard Sanberg Memorial Award for Brain Repair include: Douglas Kondziolka, MD, NYU Langone Medical Center; Mike Modo, PhD, University of Pittsburgh; Timothy Collier, PhD, Michigan State University; Donald Eugene Redmond, MD, Yale University; Shinn-Zong Lin, MD, PhD, China Medical University; Howard J. Federoff, MD, PhD, Georgetown University.

The Molly and Bernard Sanberg Memorial Award

In recognition of his significant contributions to the field of brain repair, the Molly and Bernard Sanberg Memorial Award was presented to Cesar V. Borlongan, PhD.

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. Dr. Borlongan is a world leader in the development of stem cell therapy for treating stroke, focusing on permeating the blood-brain barrier. He is also a pioneer in stem cell therapy for traumatic brain injury, inflammation and stroke, peripheral nerve repair, and advancing cell therapy for Alzheimer's disease.

"Dr. Borlongan's career has been nothing short of amazing. His research productivity has been exceptional, with over 300 papers published," said Dr. Sladek. "Not only does he have an outstanding level of productivity, but much of his work is seminal in a number of areas of translational neuroscience that encompass ischemic brain injury, blood-brain barrier pathophysiology, traumatic brain injury, stem cell transplantation, animal models of Alzheimer's disease, animal models of Parkinson's disease. Any single investigator could make a career of one of these topics but the fact that Dr. Borlongan does them all with great insight and creativity is exceptional."

According to Dr. Sladek, Dr. Borlongan has numerous patents and a high level of continuous peer-reviewed funding, both federal and private. He has had many invitations to present at National and International meetings and he serves on an incredible number of federal and private peer review panels. He was recently elected as the 2015-2016 president of the American Society for Neural Therapy and Repair and also serves as the President-Elect of the International Placenta Stem Cell Society.

"He currently serves as PI in two NIH RO1 grants and one NIH R21 grant, and a Co-I on a VA Merit Review, in addition to serving as PI in multiple company-sponsored grants and provided the pivotal IND-packet for getting approval of four of nine FDA-approved clinical trials of stem cell therapy in stroke," said Dr. Sladek. "All of these attest to his prominence as one of the top biomedical researchers in neuroscience."

Past recipients of The Molly and Bernard Sanberg Memorial Award include: Sean Savitz, MD, University of Texas Medical School at Houston; Steven Dunnett, PhD, Cardiff University; Barry Hoffer, PhD, NIDA/NIH; and Patrik Brundin, MD, PhD, Lund University - Wallenburg Neuroscience Center.


ASNTR's 23rd Annual Conference will be held April 28-30, 2016 in Clearwater Beach, Florida. For more information, email Donna Morrison or visit the ASNTR website

ASNTR is a society for basic and clinical neuroscientists using a variety of technologies to better understand how the nervous system functions and establish new procedures for its repair in response to trauma or neurodegenerative disease. Member scientists employ stem/neural cell transplantation, gene therapy, trophic factor and neuroprotective compound administration and other approaches.

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