Schlaggar receives Sparkplug award


Bradley L. Schlaggar, MD, PhD, head of the Division of Pediatric and Developmental Neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has been awarded the Frank Hatch “Sparkplug” Award for Enlightened Public Service by The John Merck Fund.

Schlaggar, the A. Ernest and Jane G. Stein Professor of Neurology, is the eighth recipient of the $50,000 prize, which the foundation presents annually to a grantee whose work embodies extraordinary creativity, dedication and foresight. Schlaggar, the neurologist-in-chief at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, is also a professor of radiology, anatomy and neurobiology, and pediatrics.

“Brad’s contributions and commitment to the fields of child neurology and psychiatry demonstrate the reasons for awarding him this year’s Sparkplug Award,” said Olivia Farr, chair of the foundation’s board. “Brad has become a leader in research into the developing brains of children, using innovative neuroimaging techniques. At the same time, he has pushed to ensure that brain researchers target problems faced by the developmentally disabled.”

The foundation created the award in 2006 to honor its longtime former chairman, Frank Hatch. Farr is Hatch’s daughter.

“I feel privileged and humbled to be recognized by The John Merck Fund with an award that is named for Mr. Frank Hatch, a man whose vision and leadership has had such an enormous impact on the lives of so many people, especially those with developmental disabilities,” Schlaggar said.

Based in Boston, The John Merck Fund was established in 1970 and is in its third generation of family leadership. The fund is spending its assets to spur progress in clean energy, environmental health, development of a New England regional food system, and treatment of developmental disabilities.

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.