CHICAGO – The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) is awarding the 2008 S. Weir Mitchell Award to Thomas Lloyd, MD, PhD, with Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, for his research in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Lloyd will receive the award during the AAN’s 60th Annual Meeting in Chicago, held April 12–19, 2008.
The S. Weir Mitchell Award recognizes an individual for basic research in neuroscience by physicians in clinical neurology training programs.
Lloyd’s work involved genetically engineering fruit flies to mimic the effects of ALS. The new technique will help future researchers in studying ALS and similar neurodegenerative disorders using an animal that is relatively easy to work with and quick to produce results.
“We believe we have created a useful model to study motor neuron disease,” said Lloyd. “We hope to use this model both to help understand mechanisms by which motor neurons degenerate in ALS and also to screen for novel therapeutic targets. If compounds or biochemical pathways that suppress motor neuron degeneration phenotypes in the fly have similar efficacy in mouse models, these would be novel drug targets for patients with ALS.”
“I am honored to receive this award,” said Lloyd. “I am thrilled that the AAN supports basic research in invertebrate animal models and realizes the potential impact these models may have in understanding and developing treatments for neurologic diseases.”
The research was funded by the Packard ALS Center at Johns Hopkins and carried out in the laboratory of Alex Kolodkin, PhD in the Department of Neuroscience.
The 60th Annual Meeting, one of the world’s largest gatherings of neurology professionals, takes place in the McCormick Place West Convention Center in Chicago.The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 21,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke. For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit www.aan.com.