2013 Award Winners

The Epilepsy Research Recognition Awards, considered the most prestigious prize for research in epilepsy, are given annually to active scientists and clinicians working in all aspects of epilepsy research.  The awards are designed to recognize professional excellence reflected in a distinguished history of research or important promise for the improved understanding, diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy. The award, in the amount of $10,000, is granted annually to one Basic Science and one Clinical Investigator.  The Committee is happy to announce the Awardees for 2013 are Jaideep Kapur, Ph.D. and Torbjorn Tomson, M.D. 

Jaideep Kapur, M.D., Ph.D., is Eugene Meyer III Professor of Neuroscience, Professor of Neurology, and Director, Neuroscience Center of Excellence, University of Virginia. He received his medical degree from Maulana Azad Medical College, Delhi University, completed a fellowship in epilepsy and clinical neurophysiology at the University of Michigan, and residencies in clinical electrophysiology (University of Michigan), neurology (Medical College of Virginia), and internal medicine (Eastern Virginia University).  

Dr. Kapur has made some of the most seminal contributions in epileptology regarding basic mechanisms of status epilepticus, demonstrating that the brain is not a static structure during status epilepticus.  His early collaborative studies made it clear that benzodiazepine responsiveness of patients in status epilepticus changes over time and that early treatment is crucial. In subsequent work Dr. Kapur and his colleagues have made many contributions regarding molecular and cellular alterations in GABA receptor and, more recently, glutamate receptors in models of status epilepticus.  His studies extend to understanding neurosteroid regulation of seizures.

Dr. Kapur is widely published in leading journals in neuroscience, neurology, epilepsy and other professional specialties, and the author of nine book chapters.  His service to the profession includes a term as AES president and more than 15 years service on diverse AES committees, plus memberships on a variety of boards, committees, and workshops for ILAE, AAN, EF. NIH and other related professional and lay organizations. 

Torbjorn Tomson, M.D., Ph.D., is Professor of Neurology and Epidemiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience of Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.  He received his medical and neurology training at Karolinska Institute.  Dr. Tomson pursued research in pharmacology at Karolinska’s Soder Hospital. He has served as head of the epileptology section of the Soder Department of Neurology and currently heads the epileptology section at Karolinska University Hospital.

Dr. Tomson’s pioneering research in AED pharmacokinetics and metabolism, pregnancy outcomes in association with AED exposure, and SUDEP have had immediate clinical relevance and global impact in guiding epilepsy management. He showed for the first time that people with active epilepsy have an altered variability in heart rate, which correlates with a higher risk of SUDEP. He was one of the initiators of the international antiepileptic drugs and pregnancy registry, which he is currently leading.  He was among the first to provide evidence of SUDEP risk factors, that mortality rates are increased three-fold in people with epilepsy, and that excess mortality occurs across many causes.

Dr. Tomson is a prolific contributor to the scientific literature with over 100 peer-reviewed papers and a like number of reviews, book chapters and invited commentaries.  He is the co-founder and served as Secretary of the Swedish Chapter of ILAE, and has served on many ILAE Commissions, often in leadership positions.  

These awards will be presented Saturday, December 7th at 8:30am immediately prior to the Presidential Symposium.

The William G. Lennox Award is the Society’s most prestigious professional award and is funded by the William G. Lennox Trust Fund.  The Fund was established in 1962 to advance and disseminate knowledge concerning epilepsy in all of its aspects – biological, clinical and social, and to promote better care and treatment for persons with epilepsy.  This award, in the amount of $10,000, was established to recognize members of the Society, usually at a senior level, who have a record of lifetime contributions and accomplishments related to epilepsy.

AES is proud to present the 2013 Lennox Award to René H. Levy, PhD

Dr. Levy received his Bachelor’s degree in pharmacy in 1965 from the University of Paris, France, and his Doctorate in pharmaceutical chemistry at the University of California San Francisco in 1970.  Dr. Levy served as chair of the Department of Pharmaceutics at the University of Washington since its creation in 1980 until 2006. Dr Levy held a concurrent appointment as professor of Neurological Surgery for over three decades. 

Dr Levy’s epilepsy research program began under the influence of Drs Arthur Ward (then Chair of Neurological Surgery) and H. Kiffin Penry (then Director of the Epilepsy Branch at the NINDS). It focused on the optimization of animal models of epilepsy through a thorough understanding of drug disposition and the translation of those approaches to the clinical evaluation of newer antiepileptic drugs.  Later, Dr Levy became a pioneer in the understanding of the molecular determinants of the metabolism of antiepileptic drugs that allowed a rationale approach to the prediction of drug-drug interactions and to the mechanisms of drug toxicity. 

Dr Levy published more than 300 articles with special emphasis on the disposition, toxicity and interaction potential of antiepileptic drugs. He has co-edited several books including Metabolism and Antiepileptic Drugs (1984); Idiosyncratic Reactions to Valproate: Clinical Risk Patterns and Mechanisms of Toxicity (1991); Metabolic Drug Interactions (2000); and multiple editions of the classic epilepsy text Antiepileptic Drugs (2002).  Dr. Levy developed the Metabolism and Transport Drug Interaction Database of the University of Washington (2002) used worldwide by drug discovery and development scientists. 

Dr Levy taught extensively on various aspects of the pharmacological treatment of epilepsy, training scientists and establishing various workshops and conferences. He also served within the ILAE as member/chair of commissions related to antiepileptic drugs. In 1989, Dr. Levy was named Ambassador for Epilepsy by the International Bureau of Epilepsy. In 2007 he became Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2011, Dr. Levy received the Arthur A. Ward Lifetime Achievement Award from the Epilepsy Foundation Northwest. 

You can honor Dr. Levy by attending the award presentation on Monday, December 9th at 8:45 a.m., immediately prior to the Merritt-Putnam Symposium.

The J. Kiffin Penry Excellence in Epilepsy Care Award honors a clinician’s lifelong focus on and genuine concern for the patient with epilepsy. This award recognizes those whose work has had a major impact on patient care and improved the quality of life for persons with epilepsy as well as recognizing excellence in the care of persons with epilepsy.

Gregory D. Cascino, M.D. is the recipient of the 2013 J. Kiffin Penry Excellence in Epilepsy Care Award.  Dr. Cascino is the Whitney MacMillan, Jr. Professor of Neuroscience at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and the Chair, Division of Epilepsy at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. He attended Northwestern University and received his degree in medicine from Rush Medical College. Dr. Cascino completed an internal medicine residency at Duke University in Durham, NC and a neurology residency and clinical neurophysiology fellowship at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA. He then became the director of the Francis M. Forster Epilepsy Center at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital in Madison, WI. In 1988, Dr. Cascino joined the staff of the Mayo Clinic. His interests have included the identification of surgically remediable epileptic syndromes in patients with medically refractory seizures. Dr. Cascino and colleagues confirmed the importance of MRI- identified hippocampal atrophy in patients with medial temporal lobe epilepsy and performed the initial studies on stereotactic lesionectomy, hippocampal formation volumetry, and subtraction ictal SPECT co-registered with MRI (SISCOM). He was the William G. Lennox lecturer “Advances in Imaging” at the 1999 AES annual meeting. Dr. Cascino is a site principal investigator in the NIH-funded multicenter Epilepsy Phenome Genome Project and the Human Epilepsy Project. He has published over 200 peer-reviewed articles and presented over 350 invited lectures. Dr. Cascino has participated in the training of 75 epilepsy-EEG fellows. He is currently an Associate Editor of Neurology and is a member of the AAN Board of Directors. He previously served on the AES Board of Directors, the Council of the ACNS, and the Professional Advisory Board Executive Committee of the Epilepsy Foundation of America. He was a past President of the Section on Epilepsy of the AAN.

Dr. Cascino will receive his award on Saturday, December 7th at 5:15 p.m., immediately prior to the AET Symposium.

The AES Service Award recognizes outstanding service in the field of epilepsy (including non-educational and non-scientific) and exemplary contributions to the welfare of the AES and its members.

Roger J. Porter, M.D. is a consultant to the pharmaceutical industry, primarily in the development of antiepileptic drugs and devices. He is also the Chief Scientific Officer of the Epilepsy Foundation, Adjunct Professor of Neurology at the Univ. of Pennsylvania and Adjunct Professor of Pharmacology at USUHS.   His education includes Eckerd College (BS, 1964), Duke Univ (MD, 1968), UCalifSD (Internship, 1968-69) and UCalifSF (Residency in Neurology, 1971-74).  He spent 20 years at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), in leadership positions including Chief of the Epilepsy Branch, Chief of the Medical Neurology Branch, and Deputy Director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).  He left the NIH in 1992 to become Vice President, Clinical Pharmacology at Wyeth and was promoted to Vice President and Deputy Head of Clinical Research at Wyeth Research in January 1998.  As VP and Deputy Head of Clinical Research, Dr. Porter had worldwide responsibility for numerous clinical programs including 200 persons in Europe, Canada, Latin America, and Asia, 65 in Worldwide Clinical Pharmacology and 40 in Global Health Outcomes Assessment. Dr. Porter retired from Wyeth in 2002.   Most of Dr. Porter’s research has been in epilepsy and the study of antiepileptic drugs; he has published more than 200 articles/chapters and 13 books.  His other leadership positions include Chairman of the White House Committee on Brain and Behavioral Sciences (1990-1992), President, American Epilepsy Society (1989-1990), and Secretary-General of the International League Against Epilepsy (1989-1993).  He is the past President of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics (ASENT). He is Past-Secretary of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia and a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology.  He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Duke Univ. Medical Center, the USPHS Distinguished Service Medal, and Doctor of Science (Hon) from Eckerd College.

Extraordinary Contributions Award

The Board of Directors periodically recognizes individual members of the Society who have made extraordinary contributions to the field of Epilepsy.  This year, the Board honored Russel (Rusty) Katz, M.D. for his work in the field.

Dr. Katz graduated from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City in 1977, and completed his training in Neurology at the Einstein affiliated hospitals in 1982. In 1983 he joined the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a medical officer in what was then the Division of Neuropharmacological Drug Products (DNDP), the unit of the FDA responsible for the regulation of research with investigational treatments as well as the approval of treatments for neurologic and psychiatric disease. Several years after joining DNDP, Dr. Katz became the Deputy Director of DNDP, and in 1999 he became the director of what is now known as the Division of Neurology Products (which deals solely with treatments for neurologic disease). Dr. Katz has lectured extensively on all aspects of the development of treatments for neurologic disease and has written numerous book chapters and articles on these topics.