Three faculty members of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis will receive honors from the Academy of Science of St. Louis: Randall Bateman, MD; M. Carolyn Baum, PhD; and Alan L. Schwartz, PhD, MD.
The mission of the 150-year-old academy is to foster the advancement of science and encouragement of public interest in and understanding of the sciences.
The award’s focus is on individuals and institutions in St. Louis known worldwide for scientific contributions to research, industry and quality of life. The awards ceremony will be held Thursday, April 22, at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel.
Bateman, who is an assistant professor of neurology, will receive an Innovation Award for his development of SILK (stable-isotope labeled kinetics), the first approach to measure the rate of production and clearance of amyloid beta (A-beta), a brain substance believed to play a key role in Alzheimer’s disease.
Bateman and his colleagues currently are using SILK to try to answer the question of whether increased A-beta production, reduced clearance or a combination of the two lead to the A-beta buildup in the brain, a process that many believe triggers Alzheimer’s disease.
SILK also will accelerate the testing of Alzheimer’s treatments by allowing researchers to directly monitor the affects of new drugs on amyloid beta production instead of having to wait months or years to see if a patient’s cognitive symptoms improve.
Baum, who is professor of and the Elias Michael Executive Director of the Program in Occupational Therapy and professor of neurology, will receive the Science Leadership Award. Under her direction, the Program in Occupational Therapy has been ranked No. 1 in the nation. She has written leading textbooks in the field and was one of the developers of the Occupational Performance Model, which defines the practice of occupational therapy and is used internationally.
Baum’s research focuses on enabling older adults to live independently, emphasizing what persons with chronic disease or disability can do rather than on the limits of their abilities. She directs the Cognitive Rehabilitation Research Group at the School of Medicine, a group of scientists who use neuroscience principles to guide rehabilitation interventions. She served as president of the American Occupational Therapy Association from 2003-07.
Schwartz, who is the Harriet B. Spoehrer Professor and chair of the Department of Pediatrics and St. Louis Children’s Hospital pediatrician-in-chief, will receive the Fellows Award. Among other factors, the Academy cited Schwartz for creating the Markey Pathway, a training program for graduate students that bridges the gap between clinical and basic research. In the laboratory, he has conducted pioneering research into how cells send out, take in, degrade and recycle proteins, including molecules important to cancer, heart disease and other disorders.
Schwartz also is director of the Children’s Discovery Institute, a partnership of Washington University and St. Louis Children’s Hospital that focuses on treatments, diagnosis and prevention of major childhood diseases.