The Medical Research Foundation of Oregon has announced the recipients of its 2015 awards for scientific leadership and innovation in Oregon. The awards were presented Thursday, 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 Oregon.
Peter Harmer, Ph.D., M.P.H., A.T.C
The Mentor Award was presented to Peter Harmer, Ph.D., M.P.H., A.T.C., associate research scientist at the Oregon Research Institute and professor in the Department of Exercise Science at Willamette University. While Harmer’s primary research focus is on fall prevention in older adults, he also studies the epidemiology of sports injuries. Harmer was recognized for inspiring students to challenge their assumptions, hold themselves to high standards and develop skills in rigorous scientific inquiry.
Judith S. Eisen, Ph.D.
The Discovery Award was presented to Judith S. Eisen, Ph.D., professor of biology in the Institute of Neuroscience at the University of Oregon. Eisen was recognized for her seminal work in transforming the zebrafish into a groundbreaking research model for biomedical science. Eisen’s work was critical in propelling zebrafish from a local model used only by a handful of University of Oregon research laboratories to becoming one of the premier models for studying the mechanisms underlying vertebrate development, homeostasis and diseases in hundreds of laboratories in more than 30 countries around the world.
Michael S. Cohen, Ph.D.
A Richard T. Jones New Investigator Award was presented to Michael S. Cohen, Ph.D., assistant professor of physiology and pharmacology in the Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine. Cohen’s research program melds his background in chemistry with his postdoctoral training in cell biology and neuroscience, and has already influenced the fields of chemical biology, cell biology and pharmaceutical chemistry. Cohen developed a novel strategy that combines chemistry and genetics to identify the direct targets of a family of enzymes known as PARPs (Poly-ADP ribose polymerases) in neurodevelopment. His work may have great impact on our understanding of ADP-ribosylation in biological processes ranging from immunology to cancer.
Brad J. Nolen, Ph.D.
A second Richard T. Jones New Investigator Award was presented to Brad J. Nolen, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Institute of Molecular Biology at the University of Oregon. Nolen was recognized for using sophisticated biochemical and biophysical techniques to answer fundamental questions about cytoskeleton regulation. His research has significantly advanced knowledge about how living cells move and change shape, which is a fundamentally important problem in biology and biochemistry. Nolen’s work may provide the framework for new advances in treating cancers and infectious diseases.