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Neuroscientist named as winner of this year’s Barbara Turnbull Award


Toronto, ON — January 21, 2003 — Dr. David Kaplan, one of Canada’s outstanding neuroscientists based at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, has been named the 2002 recipient of the Barbara Turnbull Award. Dr. Kaplan received the award on January 17, at Toronto’s Sick Children’s Hospital.

Working with co-investigator and well-known Canadian neuroscientist Dr. Freda Miller, Dr. Kaplan has identified proteins in cells that stimulate their survival, inhibit their death, and promote their growth and regeneration. The aim of this research is to develop treatments to better treat neurodegenerative diseases and nerve injuries.

“I want to thank the organizations that have made this possible, and especially Barbara Turnbull for her tireless efforts to encourage spinal cord research in Canada,” said Dr. Kaplan. “Without this kind of support, researchers in this country wouldn’t be able to push the boundaries of science, which will hopefully lead to improved therapies.”

The Barbara Turnbull Award was established in 2001 to align the efforts of three national organizations supporting spinal cord research in Canada and is awarded to the top ranked spinal cord researcher identified through Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)’s investigator-initiated grants competition. Awardees will have excelled in research in the area of spinal cord injury protection, repair, and functional recovery and will be complementing and extending this work within interdisciplinary collaborative research endeavours. Through the complementary support provided through this C$50,000 prize, selected spinal cord researchers will be able to hire additional assistants, expand their sphere of research and add momentum to the ongoing search for a cure to spinal cord injuries.

“I’m thrilled to be associated with this novel partnership with CIHR and NeuroScience Canada to recognize outstanding spinal cord research in Canada. We all have to work together to increase awareness of the need for collaborative efforts to achieve our goal,” says Ms. Turnbull. “Dr. Kaplan’s research is ground-breaking and it’s crucial that Canadians in this field know that they will be able to obtain the necessary funding they need to maintain world class research.”

Barbara Turnbull is a well-known Toronto journalist and research activist who was shot and paralyzed from the neck-down during a convenience store robbery in 1983 when she was 18. She has organized this Award to increase public awareness that over four million Canadians are afflicted with neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders.

This annual prize recognizes and supports an outstanding researcher who contributes to the advancement of world-leading spinal cord research conducted in Canada. Three national organizations sponsor the award: The Barbara Turnbull Foundation (BTF), NeuroScience Canada Foundation (NSCF), and the Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction (INMHA) of the CIHR.