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American Stroke Association honors outstanding contributors to stroke, research


HONOLULU, Feb. 6, 2013 — Three pioneers in stroke research, two new investigators and an emergency medicine researcher will be honored by the American Stroke Association at the International Stroke Conference 2013.

  • Robert J. Adams, M.S., M.D., of the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), will receive the David G. Sherman Lecture Award for his lifetime contributions to the stroke field.
  • Eng H. Lo, Ph.D., of Harvard Medical School, will receive the Thomas Willis Award for basic science investigations and management of stroke.
  • Marc I. Chimowitz, M.B.ChB., also of MUSC, will receive the William Feinberg Award for Excellence in Clinical Stroke for ongoing contributions to clinical science investigation and management of stroke.
  • Steven Jay Warach, M.D, Ph.D., of Seton/UT Southwestern Clinical Research Institute of Austin, will receive the Stroke Care in Emergency Medicine Award.
  • Kevin N. Sheth, M.D., from the Yale School of Medicine, will receive the Robert G. Siekert New Investigator in Stroke Award
  • Yoshiteru Tada, M.D. Ph.D., of University of California, San Francisco, will receive the Mordecai Y.T. Globus New Investigator Award.

Adams will give the Sherman Award Lecture — “Towards a Stroke Free Childhood in Sickle Cell Anemia” — at 10:40 a.m. HT Thursday, Feb. 7.
The Sherman Award honors Dr. David G. Sherman, a prominent stroke physician and internationally recognized leader and researcher in stroke prevention and treatment. It is bestowed on a senior American Heart Association Stroke Council Fellow with outstanding contributions in the basic or clinical stroke field in their lifetime.
Adams is lauded for more than 30 years in stroke research and notably for pioneering research of the most common cause of stroke in children, sickle cell disease. Adams is a professor of neurosciences, University Eminent Scholar, director of REACH Telemedicine Services and the SmartState Endowed Chair in Stroke at MUSC. He’s also director of the South Carolina Stroke Center of Economic Excellence.
His research showed that transcranial Doppler (TCD) ultrasonography effectively detects blockages in intracranial arteries among children with sickle cell disease and that the TCD evidence was strongly associated with increased stroke risk. Later, he led two landmark multicenter trials on childhood stroke conditions. In the trials —  STOP and STOP II — he and colleagues found that chronic blood transfusions greatly reduce the risk of a first stroke in children with sickle cell disease who have abnormal results on TCD, and that discontinuation of transfusion reverses back to abnormal blood flow and risk of stroke.
 “There is no doubt that Dr. Adams has made an outstanding contribution to the field of stroke, and easily the largest contribution in the history of childhood stroke,” wrote Heather Fullerton, a pediatric stroke neurologist and director of Stroke Sciences Group at UC San Francisco. “Prior to his work, the natural history . . . was that one in 10 children (with sickle cell) would have a stroke by the end of childhood.”
After the STOP trials and changes in practice, “stroke admissions in children have declined, and previously observed racial disparities in childhood stroke mortality — excess risk in black children — have diminished,” Fullerton said.
Beyond his seminal contributions to clinical stroke science, Adams has studied acute stroke treatments and prevention; led community outreach programs; mentored several stroke scientists; and served and led within the American Heart Association.
Lo will deliver the Willis Lecture — “Causation and Collaboration for Stroke Research” — at 11:05 a.m. HT Friday. Feb. 8.
The Willis Award recognizes an American Heart Association Stroke Council Fellow who has “actively engaged in and has made significant contributions to basic science research (animal/cell models) in stroke.” It honors Thomas Willis (1621-1675), a pioneer physician who provided the first detailed descriptions of the brain stem, cerebellum and ventricles along with hypotheses on their function.
A Professor of Radiology and Neurology at Harvard Medical School and Head of the Neuroprotection Research Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Lo is honored for 25 years of work that has put him at the forefront of research on mechanisms underlying ischemia-induced brain injury.
He has made several significant contributions to acute stroke imaging in the experimental setting, the pathobiology of the neurovascular unit, and brain recovery and repair after stroke. His work on hemorrhagic transformation after ischemic stroke helped provide mechanistic rationale for safety guidelines for clinical use of tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) — the only FDA-approved treatment for stroke. He is also a pioneer in research on neurovascular injury and repair after stroke.
These and other studies “have provided new molecular and therapeutic strategies for targeting the neurovascular unit in acute stroke and will have a profound effect on stroke therapies for many years to come,” wrote Pak H. Chan, Ph.D., James R. Doty professor of neurosurgery and neurosciences at Stanford School of Medicine.
Lo is the basic science editor of Stroke, an American Heart Association journal, serves on the editorial boards of several journals. Lo is currently a Jacob Javits Neuroscience Investigator for NINDS, and the Phyliss and Jerome Lyle Rappaport Research Scholar at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Chimowitz will give the Feinberg lecture — “Treatment of Intracranial Atherosclerosis: Learning from the Past and Planning for the Future” — at 10:35 a.m. HT Wednesday, Feb. 6.
The Feinberg Award is named for Dr. William Feinberg (1952-1997), a prominent stroke clinician-researcher and American Heart Association volunteer who contributed to a fuller understanding of the causes of stroke. The award recognizes a Stroke Council Fellow actively involved in patient-based research who has made significant contributions to clinical stroke research.
A professor of neurology and associate dean of faculty development at the MUSC, Chimowitz has made contributions to stroke knowledge in the fields of epidemiology, prevention, pathogenesis, diagnosis and treatment. During the past 15 years, he has led three large consecutive multicenter clinical studies — the WASID trial, the NIH Wingspan Stent registry and the Stenting and Aggressive Medical Management for Preventing Recurrent stroke in Intracranial Stenosis (SAMMPRIS) trial — that have led to new standards for treating atherosclerotic intracranial arterial stenosis.
“These studies in total have substantially impacted clinical practice worldwide regarding treatment of intracranial vascular disease and the current forms of aggressive medical therapy for stroke prevention,” said Joseph Broderick, M.D., professor and chairman of neurology at the University of Cincinnati.
Chimowitz also has extensive experience with mentoring trainees and junior faculty and has been the recipient of a NIH K24 award for this purpose. He is on the editorial boards for Stroke and Neurosurgery.
The three other awards recognize noteworthy research presented at this year’s International Stroke Conference. All applicants must be AHA council members.
The Emergency Medicine Award is for the highest scoring abstract among applicants in the emergency medicine category. Warach, professor and founding executive director of the Seton/UT Southwestern Clinical Research Institute of Austin, will present abstract 213: The Probability of Ischemic Stroke Therapeutic Targets at Extended Time Windows at 9:32 a.m. HT Thursday, Feb. 7. The abstract documents potential clot-busting targets beyond 4.5 hours and the need for better ways and more resources to identify these patients.
The Siekert Award is named for the founding chair of the International Stroke Conference, Robert G. Siekert, and is presented to an outstanding young scientist.Sheth, chief of the division of neurocritical care and emergency neurology at Yale School of Medicine, is recognized for abstract 211: GAMES (Glyburide Advantage in Malignant Edema and Stroke) Pilot Study. It will be presented at 10:19 a.m. HT Wednesday, Feb. 6.  The small study suggests that a safety trial for a diabetes drug that reduces water on the brain (glyburide) is feasible for patients at risk of highly lethal stroke.
The Globus Award is named for the late renowned cerebrovascular researcher, Dr. Mordecai Y.T. Globus, and is given to a researcher still in training. Tada, clinical and research fellow at University of California, San Francisco, will present abstract 212:Estrogen Protects against Aneurysmal Rupture Through Estrogen Receptor-beta in Ovariectomized Mice at 9:46 a.m. HT, Thursday, Feb. 7. The study suggests that targeting estrogen receptors may help prevent weakened blood brain vessels from rupturing in post-menopausal women.
The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association receives funding mostly from individuals. Foundations and corporations donate as well, and fund specific programs and events. Strict policies are enforced to prevent these relationships from influencing the association’s science content. Financial information for the American Heart Association, including a list of contributions from pharmaceutical companies and device manufacturers, is available at
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