GENOA, Italy — Eva Feldman, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Program for Neurology Research & Discovery, was awarded the prestigious Alan J. Gebhart Prize for Excellence in Peripheral Nerve Research at the 2019 Peripheral Nerve Society Annual Awards Ceremony on June 25.
“Dr. Feldman is a leader in our field and highly deserving of this award,” said Steven Scherer, M.D., Ph.D., who is the PNS President, a previous recipient of the Gebhart Prize and a three-time graduate of the University of Michigan. “She is an exceptional clinician scientist, mentor and colleague.”
The Gebhart Prize recognizes Dr. Feldman’s contributions to the PNS mission: supporting research, training scientists and healthcare professionals, setting standards of care, creating new treatments, and facilitating clinical trials. Dr. Feldman is one of two recipients of the 2019 Gebhart Prize, which is determined annually by the PNS Board Prize Committee.
“I am deeply appreciative to the Peripheral Nerve Society for this award,” said Dr. Feldman, the Russell N. DeJong Professor of Neurology. “I am very fortunate to work with talented, young scientists, many of whom attended the conference with me. This award is a credit to the innovative nerve research that we do as a team at the Program for Neurology Research & Discovery.”
Dr. Feldman directs a research program of 30 scientists within PNR&D, a lab she established in 2000. She has more than 30 years of continuous funding by the National Institutes of Health. She currently leads three multi-institutional NIH grants aimed at understanding how lipids cause nervous system injury in patients. Her pioneering studies on neurological disorders in metabolic diseases have identified dyslipidemia during obesity and diabetes as a key driver of brain and nerve damage in children and adults, influencing new clinical guidelines on patient care by the American Diabetes Association (ADA). She is Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator on five additional NIH grants supporting her more basic scientific research employing laboratory-based models of metabolic injury. Dr. Feldman has published more than 415 original peer-reviewed articles, 70 book chapters and four books. She is past president of PNS (2007-09) and the American Neurological Association (2011-13).
Among Dr. Feldman’s greatest accomplishments is her training of both scientists and neurologists. Nine scientists have received their Ph.D.’s under her, and she has trained more than 100 postdoctoral fellows and neurologists to specialize in the understanding and treatment of neuromuscular diseases.
Her additional career accolades include the Endocrine Society’s Aurbach Award for Outstanding Translational Research (2017), the Esteemed Women of Michigan Award (2017), induction into the National Academy of Medicine (2014) and the ADA’s Lifetime Achievement Award (2006). From the University of Michigan, she has received the Early Distinguished Career Award (2001) and the Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award (2012). She was elected to the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars (2010), and she has been listed in Best Doctors in America for more than 20 consecutive years.
Dr. Feldman received her M.D. (‘83) and Ph.D. (‘79) from the University of Michigan and completed her neurology training at Johns Hopkins Hospital. She joined the faculty at Michigan Medicine in 1988 as an assistant professor in neurology, attained full professor status in 2000, and in 2004 became the Russell N. DeJong Professor of Neurology.
In addition to Dr. Feldman, the Program for Neurology Research and Discovery was well-represented at the 2019 Peripheral Nerve Society Annual Meeting, which was held June 22-25 at Centro Congressi in Porto Antico Di Genova. Drs. Feldman, Rodica Pop-Busui, Brian Callaghan, Phillipe O’Brien, Amy Rumora and Stephanie Eid were specifically engaged with the International Diabetes Neuropathy Consortium.
Drs. Feldman and Pop-Busui each co-chaired one of the IDNC oral poster sessions.
PNR&D scientists and staff members were split between two days of IDNC oral poster sessions. Leading off on June 23, Dr. Rumora discussed “Saturated and Monounsaturated Fatty Acids Differentially Regulate Nerve Function in Murine Models of Obesity.” Clinical Research Coordinator Ericka Chant explained recent research entitled “Distal Symmetric Polyneuropathy is Likely the First Neurologic Complication of Obesity. Dr. Callaghan followed with his talk about the “Distribution of Obesity is a Key Differentiator of Neuropathy Status.” To finish the afternoon, Technician Faye Mendelson spoke about “Oxidative Stress and Human Diabetic Neuropathy: Role of NADPH Oxidase 5.”
Three more PNR&D scientists took part in oral poster sessions on June 24. Dr. O’Brien talked about “Altered Nerve Triglycerides in Mouse Models of Diabetes with Neuropathy.” Dr. Callaghan spoke yet again, this time about “Scientific Pitfalls in Emerging Technology for Study of Neuropathy. Lastly, Dr. Eid discussed “Genome-wide DNA Methylation Profiling Identifies Epigenetic Clues into Human Peripheral Neuropathy in Type 2 Diabetes.”
Additionally, Technician Shayna Mason had a poster entitled “Caloric Restriction Improves Peripheral Nerve Function and Glucose Tolerance in Diet-Induced Obese Mice,” and Technician
John Hayes had a poster entitled “NONcNZO & TALLYHO Mice: Novel Mouse Models of Type 2 Diabetes that Develop Peripheral Neuropathy.”
The 2020 PNS Annual Meeting will be held June 27-July in Miami, Florida. For more information about PNS, visit www.pnsociety.com.