Symposium Celebrates Takeda’s Inaugural Innovators in Science Award Honorees

Leading clinicians and researchers in neuroscience gather to recognize transformative research.

Published December 12, 2017

Symposium Celebrates Takeda’s Inaugural Innovators in Science Award Honorees
Symposium Celebrates Takeda’s Inaugural Innovators in Science Award Honorees

On November 29 Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited with the New York Academy of Sciences brought together leading researchers, clinicians, and industry stakeholders for a Symposium to celebrate the inaugural Innovators in Science Award Honorees at the Academy’s headquarters in downtown Manhattan.

The Innovators in Science Award was launched to celebrate a promising Early-Career Scientist’s and an outstanding Senior Scientist’s contributions to science in the fields of neuroscience, gastroenterology, oncology, and regenerative medicine. In this first year, the Innovators in Science Award recognized transformative research in the area of neuroscience. One award winner and two finalists were selected in each category from a pool of 170 nominations across 114 academic, government, or nonprofit institutions in 28 countries. Both winners received $200,000 to support their continued research.

Award honorees were recognized for discoveries ranging from novel method development, identification of molecules essential for nervous system function, elucidation of neural mechanisms underlying cognition and behavior, and establishing the role of glial cells in health and disease.

Early-Career Scientist Honorees

  • Viviana Gradinaru, PhD, California Institute of Technology - Early-Career Scientist Winner
  • Michael Halassa, MD, PhD, New York University - Early-Career Scientist Finalist
  • Kay Tye, PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology - Early-Career Scientist Finalist

Senior Scientist Honorees

  • Shigetada Nakanishi, MD, PhD, Suntory Foundation for Life Sciences Bioorganic Research Institute - Senior Scientist Winner
  • Ben Barres, MD, PhD, Stanford University School of Medicine - Senior Scientist Finalist
  • David Julius, PhD, UC San Francisco - Senior Scientist Finalist

Dr. Andrew Plump, MD, PhD, Chief Medical and Scientific Officer, Takeda Pharmaceuticals welcomed approximately 200 international guests from Japan and across the world to the Symposium which was kicked off the evening before with an elegant Japanese-themed awards dinner complete with musicians playing traditional Japanese music.  The Symposium featured lectures from this year’s honorees in addition to distinguished speakers Dr. Rudolph Tanzi, Dr. Don W. Cleveland, Dr. Paola Arlotta and Dr. Daniel Geschwind who highlighted their research on neurodegenerative diseases and neuropsychiatric disorders.

Nobel Laureate and world-renowned neuroscientist Dr. Eric Kandel closed the Symposium with a lively keynote lecture titled “The Biology of Memory and Age Related Memory Loss”. Dr. Kandel described how memory systems were first identified in the human brain. He then outlined studies that demonstrated the link between long-term memory loss and the lack of new synaptic connections, as well as how these insights into memory storage allow us to understand memory loss during aging and Alzheimer’s disease.

An eBriefing featuring highlights from the Symposium presentations will be available in the coming weeks.

More highlights from the Ceremony can be found here on Takeda’s website.