The ALS Association and American Academy of Neurology Give
Top Scientists The Sheila Essey Award for ALS Research
The ALS Association joined the American Academy of Neurology and awarded the Sheila Essey Award for ALS Research to Orla Hardiman, MD, a clinician scientist who has significantly impacted clinical trials, epidemiology and genetics in ALS.
Dr. Orla Hardiman, Professor of Neurology, Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, Dublin, Ireland, leads a team which has developed the longest running population based register of ALS in the world. The register is now part of the European ALS group, founded by Dr. Hardiman.
Many of her team's studies in clinical trials, outcome measures and patient care have led to important changes in how people with ALS are cared for. Her group undertook a systematic review of the impact of ethnicity on ALS epidemiology and demonstrated that the frequency of ALS is not uniform across the world. In addition, capitalizing on the relative homogeneity of the Irish population, her group identified a series of novel mutations in angiogenin (involved in formation of blood vessels and also thought to play a role in the protection of motor neurons) linked to some cases of ALS.
Dr. Hardiman is currently part of an international consortium using genome wide technology to identify potential genes linked to sporadic cases of ALS. Dr. Hardiman, funded by The ALS Association, is undertaking a detailed population-based longitudinal survey of cognition in ALS. Her group’s data suggest that cognitive impairment in ALS occurs in about 40% of patients and occurs early in the disease. This work has generated an important resource of DNA from patients followed longitudinally with detailed neuropsychological profiling. “This is a great honor for my research team, our Irish and international collaborators and the Irish ALS community. Finding the causative genes in small homogeneous populations and looking for protective genes in ethnically mixed populations can help to identify new pathways that lead to neurodegeneration. This award will be used to help to develop our research ideas, with the overall aim of finding pathways in ALS that can be harnessed to develop new treatments,” said Dr. Hardiman. “We are grateful to The ALS Association for their continued support of our work.”
In 2017, Dr. Hardiman and her Team were again awarded grants from the ALSA and the CDC in the USA, to continue her research in South American and Cuba.
Most recently, Dr. Hardiman was among only five ALS researchers in Europe asked to join a European research project called 'Project TryMe' to discover faster and better ways to treat and hopefully cure ALS.
We believe deeply in the importance of the research Dr. Orla Hardiman and her Team are doing in Ireland in concert with the International community of Researchers.
We hope you will support them as well.
TRINITY COLLEGE, UNIVERSITY OF DUBLIN INTERNATIONAL ALS/MND RESEARCH TEAM
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