Medical Research Foundation honors top Oregon scientists, mentors

The Medical Research Foundation of Oregon has announced the recipients of its 2014 awards for scientific leadership and innovation in Oregon. The awards were presented Wednesday, Nov. 12.

Established in 1942, the MRF promotes medical research achievement across the state. In addition to awarding its annual leadership and innovation honors, it administers more than $1 million in annual research funding and early investigator grants that support the work of outstanding investigators at research institutions across the state.

Fay Horak, Ph.D.

The Mentor Award was presented to Fay Horak, Ph.D., professor of neurology in the OHSU School of Medicine, and physical therapist and motor control neurophysiologist in the OHSU Parkinson Center of Oregon. Horak’s research focuses on neurological disorders that affect balance and gait. Horak was recognized for being a coach, collaborator, adviser and advocate who contributed to the success of 47 postdoctoral fellows, including numerous MRF grant recipients. Many of her former trainees now hold faculty positions around the world.

George Bailey, Ph.D.

The Discovery Award was presented posthumously to George Bailey, Ph.D., distinguished professor emeritus in the Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology and retired principal investigator at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. Bailey helped pioneer the use of rainbow trout in studying carcinogens. His work in cancer chemoprevention has the potential to dramatically limit colon and liver cancer rates in many regions of the world. His research changed the understanding of carcinogens, especially exposures relevant to humans. Bailey died Oct. 20 following a serious illness.

Joshi J. Alumkal, M.D.

The Richard T. Jones New Investigator Award was presented to Joshi J. Alumkal, M.D., associate professor of medicine and molecular and medical genetics in the OHSU School of Medicine, and co-leader of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute’s Prostate Cancer Research Program. Alumkal is a physician-scientist whose work on developing more effective treatments for advanced prostate cancer patients has had a significant impact in Oregon and beyond. Alumkal’s research is focused on understanding molecular mechanisms by which lethal prostate cancers evolve.

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