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Three UC San Diego Researchers Receive Top National Awards 

 

November 24, 2009 

Three top researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine were recently named as recipients of prestigious awards from national organizations in their respective fields

Lewis L. Judd, MD

Judd, Mary Gilman Marston professor and

Lewis Judd

chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at UC San Diego's School of Medicine, was recently awarded one of the world's leading prizes for psychiatric research achievement.

Judd received the esteemed Nola Maddox Falcone Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Mood Disorders Research from NARSAD: The Mental Health Research Association – the world's leading charity dedicated to funding research on psychiatric disorders.

The annual award was presented to Judd in October in recognition of his work as the lead author of a 2005 published study that showed depression, not mania, is the most prevalent condition in bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic depression, and that the depression is at least as impairing as the mania. Judd's research also prompted a paradigm shift in the way bipolar disorder is thought of, from it being a series of acute, isolated affective episodes to a chronic, lifelong illness.

According to NARSAD, "this way of approaching bipolar disorder has led to a new model of treatment where clinicians monitor a bipolar disorder patient's moods and symptoms regularly in the same way that people with diabetes monitor their blood glucose levels.

"Monitoring can be critical to preventing a relapse after successful treatment, which is paramount because repeated episodes of depression can change brain chemistry and make later episodes more difficult to treat."

Judd has been a faculty member at UCSD for over 35 years, except from 1987 to 1990 when he served as director of the National Institute of Mental Health. In his tenure there, he was the architect and leader of "The Decade of the Brain," a plan launched as a Presidential Proclamation to increase the neuroscience capacity of the nation. At UC San Diego, he heads a broad program of clinical and basic research and training. UCSD's Department of Psychiatry operates centers in mood disorders, late-onset psychoses, neurobehavioral aspects of HIV infection and child and adolescent services, among other programs. Among Judd's many honors and awards, he was elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 1998.

Gary S. Firestein, MD

Firestein, dean of Translational Medicine for

Gary Firestein

UCSD Health Sciences and chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology at UC San Diego, received the 2009 Distinguished Basic Investigator Award from the American College of Rheumatology (ARC) in October.

The Distinguished Basic Investigator Award is given to a basic scientist making outstanding contributions to the field of rheumatology. Firestein's research focuses on the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis and mechanisms of inflammation. His studies played a pivotal role in the development of the highly effective anti-tumor necrosis factor drugs and other anti-cytokine approaches to treating this crippling disease.

Firestein has also directed a number of innovative clinical studies for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, scleroderma, and other autoinflammatory syndromes with a focus on developing novel biomarker endpoints.

Larry Goldstein, PhD

Goldstein, professor of Cellular and Molecular

Larry Goldstein

Medicine at UC San Diego, Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and director of the UC San Diego Stem Cell Program will receive the 2009 American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) Public Service Award at ASCB's national conference, taking place in San Diego in early December.

ASCB is honoring Goldstein for his "dedication in advocating for biomedical research funding and research policy issues around the country. During the past decade, Goldstein has spent numerous hours explaining why government funding of stem cell research is important, and sharing his expertise with members of Congress and the media to help them understand the complicated science behind stem cell legislation."

Locally, Goldstein has served as a national leader in stem cell research and policy, including serving as co-chair of the scientific advisory committee for the campaign to pass California's Proposition 71, a voter-endorsed measure to provide $3 billion in stem cell research funding in California. Goldstein has also appeared on numerous occasions before the California legislature and the U.S. Congress and Senate to testify in support of stem cell research and biomedical research funding.

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Media Contact: Debra Kain, 619-543-6163, ddkain@ucsd.edu

 

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