By McGill Reporter Staff
Dr. Samuel David, a researcher from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre has received the 2015 Barbara Turnbull Award for Spinal Cord Research. Dr. David won the prestigious award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the advancement of world leading spinal cord research conducted in Canada.
This annual prize is supported through a partnership between the Barbara Turnbull Foundation, Brain Canada, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). This award is in honour of the late Barbara Turnbull for her work in raising awareness about spinal cord injuries and the need for exceptional research in this area to improve the lives of those affected.
“CIHR salutes Dr. David for his remarkable work aimed at accelerating our understanding of spinal cord injuries and improving the health of thousands of Canadians living with central nervous system disorders,” said Dr. Anthony Phillips, Scientific Director, CIHR Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction. “We remain fully committed to partnering with other organizations to support the best and most innovative research addressing recovery following spinal cord injuries.”
Dr. David and his research team are studying the mechanisms that control the delivery and release of iron in the nervous system. Iron is required for the survival and functioning of nerve cells. However, too much iron can cause damage to nerve cells. Their work has an impact on our understanding of damage following spinal cord and brain injury and diseases such as multiple sclerosis, and ways to promote recovery after nervous system damage.
The Barbara Turnbull Award for Spinal Cord Research was established in 2001 to support research and raise awareness of the more than 86,000 Canadians who are living with a spinal cord injury, with 4,300 new cases each year. Barbara Turnbull was a renowned Toronto journalist and a champion of research into spinal cord injury and repair. In 1983, when she was 18 she was shot during a convenience store robbery and as a result was paralyzed from the neck down. Following this tragedy, Ms. Turnbull created a non-profit charitable foundation that promotes and supports spinal cord research in Canada.
In accepting the award, Dr. David praised Turnbull, who died of heart failure at the age of 50 this past May. “I am delighted to be the recipient of this year’s Barbara Turnbull Award for Spinal Cord Research,” said Dr. David. “Barbara Turnbull was, and continues to be, an inspiration to those living with spinal cord injury, as well as researchers who are striving to make medical advances in this field.”