Takeda and the New York Academy of Sciences Announce Innovators in Science Award Honorees

In 2017 the award recognizes leading researchers in neuroscience.

Published October 30, 2017

New York, NY, October 30, 2017 and Osaka, Japan, October 31, 2017 – Today Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (TSE: 4502) and the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS) announce the Honorees of the inaugural Innovators in Science Award for their commitment to and excellence in neuroscience research.

The Winner of the Senior Scientist Award is Shigetada Nakanishi, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Suntory Foundation for Life Sciences Bioorganic Research Institute in Japan. Nakanishi is honored for developing innovative cloning strategies for membrane embedded transmitter receptors and subsequent identification of functional genes encoding NMDA and G-protein coupled glutamate receptors.

The Winner of the Early-Career Scientist Award is Viviana Gradinaru, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology and Biological Engineering at the California Institute of Technology. Gradinaru is honored for exemplary work in developing novel tools for neuroscience and using them to probe circuits underlying locomotion, reward, and sleep.

Also recognized as Award Finalists for discoveries ranging from neural mechanisms underlying cognitive function and emotional and social behaviors, the role of astrocytes at synapses in health and disease, and ion channels that enable somatosensation and pain perception are:

Senior Scientist Finalists:

  • Ben Barres, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Neurobiology, Stanford University School of Medicine
  • David Julius, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of Physiology, UC San Francisco

Early-Career Scientist Finalists:

  • Michael Halassa, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Neuroscience, New York University
  • Kay Tye, Ph.D., Whitehead Career Development Assistant Professor of Neuroscience, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

These individuals will be honored at the 2017 Innovators in Science Award Ceremony and Symposium on November 28-29, at the New York Academy of Sciences in New York City.

In 2016, Takeda and the New York Academy of Sciences launched the Innovators in Science Award partnership to recognize and celebrate disruptive and transformative research in areas among which Takeda has focused its drug discovery: neuroscience, gastroenterology, oncology, and regenerative medicine, conducted across the world by promising Early-Career Scientists and outstanding Senior Scientists. The first year of the four-year award program focused on global, innovative achievements in neuroscience by researchers from major universities and renowned academic medical centers. Breakthrough research in regenerative medicine will be recognized in the program’s second year.

“We’re pleased to honor these truly innovative researchers who open the possibility of evolving research into imaginative treatments for those facing unmet needs in neuropsychiatric disorders,” said Andrew Plump, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Medical and Scientific Officer for Takeda. “Takeda is committed to and applauds those breaking barriers in neuroscience research as we aim to treat patients throughout the world with psychiatric and neurological disorders.”

“Science is a collaborative effort that knows no borders, age or gender,” said Ellis Rubinstein, President and CEO, the New York Academy of Sciences. “The Innovators in Science Award recognizes the contributions that both early-career and senior scientists make to advancing the frontiers of science and medical innovation to enhance the lives of humankind. We’re honored to be Takeda’s partner in helping to drive important neuroscience research which has the potential to impact millions of people now and in the future.”

“It is an incredible honor to be part of the selection process for the inaugural Innovators in Science Awards. I am overwhelmed by candidates’ achievements, and it was difficult to decide top honorees,” said Marina Picciotto, Yale University of Medicine and 2017 Innovators in Science Jury Chair. “The process was impressive for the depth of discussion, the care jury members took in evaluating the contributions of the candidates, and the consensus reached after the final stage of deliberations. The winners and finalists are true innovators, and I am delighted to celebrate their accomplishments."

About the Innovators in Science Award

The Innovators in Science Award grants two prizes of US $200,000 each year: one to an Early-Career Scientist and the other to a well-established Senior Scientist who have distinguished themselves for the creative thinking and impact of their research. The Innovators in Science Award is a limited submission competition in which research universities, academic institutions, government or non-profit institutions, or equivalent from around the globe with a well established record of scientific excellence are invited to nominate their most promising
Early-Career Scientists and their most outstanding Senior Scientists working in one of four selected therapeutic fields of neuroscience, gastroenterology, oncology, and regenerative medicine. Prize Winners and Finalists are determined by a panel of judges, independently selected by the New York Academy of Sciences, with expertise in these disciplines. The New York Academy of Sciences administers the Award in partnership with Takeda. For more information please visit the Innovators in Science Award website.

About Takeda

Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited is a global, research and development-driven pharmaceutical company committed to bringing better health and a brighter future to patients by translating science into life-changing medicines. Takeda focuses its R&D efforts on oncology, gastroenterology and central nervous system therapeutic areas plus vaccines. Takeda conducts R&D both internally and with partners to stay at the leading edge of innovation. New innovative products, especially in oncology and gastroenterology, as well as our presence in Emerging Markets, fuel the growth of Takeda. Around 30,000 Takeda employees are committed to improving quality of life for patients, working with our partners in health care in more than 70 countries. For more information, visit https://www.takeda.com/newsroom/.

About the New York Academy of Sciences

The New York Academy of Sciences is an independent, not-for-profit organization that since 1817 has been driving innovative solutions to society’s challenges by advancing scientific research, education, and policy. With more than 20,000 members in 100 countries, the Academy is creating a global community of science for the benefit of humanity. Please visit us online at http://www.nyas.org/and follow us on Twitter at @NYASciences.