Schlaggar honored for pediatric research

Bradley L. Schlaggar, MD, PhD, the A. Ernest and Jane G. Stein Professor of Neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has been awarded the E. Mead Johnson Award for Pediatric Research.

The award, among the most prestigious in pediatric research, is given by the Society for Pediatric Research for outstanding research achievements in pediatrics. Schlaggar, who is also on staff at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, is being honored for his contributions to basic and translational research using brain imaging, such as functional MRI, to understand the development of human cognition.

“Dr. Schlaggar has made tremendous contributions to the study of developmental cognitive neuroscience,” says Alan L. Schwartz, MD, PhD, chairman of the university’s Department of Pediatrics. “We are pleased his outstanding efforts are being recognized with such an esteemed award.”

Schwartz and Larry J. Shapiro, MD, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, nominated Schlaggar for the honor. Schwartz and Shapiro are both previous winners of the E. Mead Johnson Award.

Schlaggar’s research has advanced the understanding of cognitive development in children. He has created and implemented cutting-edge functional neuroimaging methods to investigate basic mechanisms in the development of language, reading, attention and executive control. Schlaggar has investigated these issues in healthy children and those whose cognitive skills are delayed by strokes or illness, including Tourette Syndrome.

Further, he and his colleagues have used advanced computational tools with functional MRI data to make predictions about individual children, including the functional maturity of a child’s brain or whether he or she has a particular neurologic diagnosis. The ability to use information in a brain scan to say something specific about an individual is critically important for using functional MRI as a clinical tool.

Schlaggar — who is also a professor of pediatrics, radiology, and anatomy and neurobiology — will receive the award in May at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting in Washington.

Schlaggar came to Washington University School of Medicine in 1986 for the MD/PhD program. He remained at the university for a pediatric neurology residency and fellowship, and joined the faculty in 1999.

Schlaggar is also director of the Pediatric Neurology Residency Training Program at the School of Medicine and St. Louis Children’s Hospital, director of the university’s Pediatric Movement Disorder Program and associate director of the Division of Pediatric and Developmental Neurology.

Washington University School of Medicine’s 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation, currently ranked sixth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.