American Stroke Association Honors Outstanding Contributors to Stroke, Research


Three pioneers in stroke research, two neurologist researchers, a neurosurgery resident and a bioengineering researcher will be honored by the American Stroke Association at the International Stroke Conference 2015 at the Nashville Music City Center.


NASHVILLE, Tenn., Feb. 11, 2015 — Three pioneers in stroke research, two neurologist researchers, a neurosurgery resident and a bioengineering researcher will be honored by the American Stroke Association at the International Stroke Conference 2015 at the Nashville Music City Center.

  • Graeme J. Hankey, M.B.B.S., M.D., of the University of Western Australia, will receive the David G. Sherman Lecture Award for his lifetime contributions to the stroke field.
  • Michael Chopp, Ph.D., of the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit will receive theThomas Willis Award for basic science investigations in the field of stroke.
  • Lewis B. Morgenstern, M.D., of the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, will receive the William Feinberg Award for Excellence in Clinical Stroke for ongoing contributions to clinical science investigation and management of stroke.
  • Ashkan Shoamanesh, M.D., of McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, will receive the Mordecai Y.T. Globus New Investigator Award.
  • Seth A. Hays, Ph.D., of the University of Texas at Dallas, will receive the Robert G. Siekert New Investigator in Stroke Award.
  • Kimon Bekelis, M.D., of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire, will receive the Stroke Care in Emergency Medicine Award.
  • Wuwei Feng, M.D., M.S., of the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, will receive the Stroke Rehabilitation Award.

Hankey will give the David G. Sherman Lecture: Toward Evidence-based Stroke Treatment and Prevention at 11:33 a.m. CT, Friday, Feb. 13, 2015 (Hall B).

The Sherman Award honors a prominent stroke physician and internationally recognized leader and researcher in stroke prevention and treatment. It is bestowed on a senior American Heart Association Stroke Council Fellow with outstanding contributions in the basic or clinical stroke field in their lifetime.

Hankey is Winthrop professor of neurology in the school of medicine and pharmacology at the University of Western Australia, and a consultant neurologist in the department of neurology at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Perth, Western Australia.

He has focused his research on epidemiologic studies and clinical trials of interventions to prevent and treat stroke. Fueled by some $43 million in competitive research grants, Hankey has contributed to 615 articles in peer-reviewed medical journals. The author or coauthor of 10 books, including Hankey’s Clinical Neurology, 2


edition, 2014, Hankey has furthered his impact on the specialty by contributing to 12 guidelines on aspects of stroke and clinical neurology and delivering more than 500 lectures at scientific meetings worldwide.

Hankey holds several editorial posts, including editorial consultant for The Lancet and The Lancet Neurology. His leadership positions have included director and counselor of the Australian Association of Neurologists, an organization that awarded Hankey its career achievement award in neuroscience research in 2006.

This researcher has been involved on an international level in many groundbreaking trials. As the national Australian coordinator of the International Stroke Trial-3, Hankey contributed to establishing the role of thrombolysis for acute ischemic stroke. More recently, he has had a dominant presence in new oral anticoagulant trials.

“A signature accomplishment was VITATOPS, an international study [on vitamins to prevent stroke], which he led to completion on basically a ‘shoestring’ budget, and, at times, unselfishly contributed his own funds to see this tour de force to completion,” said Philip B. Gorelick, M.D., M.P.H., professor, translational science and molecular medicine, Michigan State University. “Hankey is a remarkable clinical stroke scientist, international leader in the field of stroke prevention and treatment, and outstanding human being….”

Chopp will deliver the Thomas Willis Lecture: Enhancing Neuroplasticity as a Primary Treatment for Stroke at 10:50 a.m. CT, Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015 (Hall B).

The Willis Award recognizes an American Heart Association Stroke Council Fellow who has “actively engaged in and has made significant contributions to basic science research (animal/cell models) in stroke.” It honors Thomas Willis (1621-1675), a pioneer physician who provided the first detailed descriptions of the brain stem, cerebellum and ventricles along with hypotheses on their function.

Chopp is vice chairman, department of neurology, research division, and scientific director of the Neuroscience Institute at Henry Ford Health System. In his three decades as a researcher, Chopp has been at the forefront of studying stroke treatments, neural injury and neurodegenerative disease. He has pioneered novel therapeutic approaches and provided insight into the mechanisms of damage and post-stroke repair.

Among many notable research accomplishments, Chopp pioneered the concept of treating and remodeling the intact brain, in order to amplify and capitalize on endogenous restorative events present after stroke and injury. Some would credit Chopp with developing the field of neuro-restorative therapies for stroke, as he was the first to employ bone marrow mesenchymal cells and cord blood cells for the treatment of stroke and neural injury and to deliver these cells intravascularly.

In a major new research direction with substantial clinical implications, Chopp and colleagues have focused on a pivotal role of molecular master switches, microRNAs, in mediating response to stroke and neural injury.

Chopp has been involved in the development of restorative pharmacological agents for the treatment of stroke and brain trauma, including neuro-restorative agents VEGF, sildenafil and statins. Recently, in a set of pioneering experiments, Chopp and colleagues have shown that tPA contributes to brain remodeling.

Chopp’s contributions include being at the forefront of neuroprotective treatments and providing insight into the mechanisms driving neural injury. For example, he was the first to identify the expression of p53 in the brain with stroke and to measure nitric oxide (NO) in the brain post stroke.

Chopp has published more than 590 peer-reviewed manuscripts and has given nearly 400 invited lectures worldwide.

Morgenstern will give the William M. Feinberg Award: Stroke Disparities: A Call to Actionat 10:33 a.m. CT, Thursday, Feb.12, 2015 (Hall B).

The Feinberg Award is named for Dr. William Feinberg (1952-1997), a prominent stroke clinician-researcher and American Heart Association volunteer who contributed to a fuller understanding of the causes of stroke. The award recognizes a Stroke Council Fellow actively involved in patient-based research who has made significant contributions to clinical stroke research.

Morgenstern, professor and vice chair of neurology at the University of Michigan Medical School and director of the stroke program at the University of Michigan Health System, has earned international acclaim for his research in stroke health disparities and epidemiology. His contributions include impactful studies on stroke disparities in the Mexican-American population. Morgenstern created and launched the Brain Attack Surveillance in Corpus Christi (BASIC) Project, the only U.S. population-based stroke surveillance project focused on Mexican-Americans and one which has received continuous NIH funding since 1999. BASIC alone, has resulted in more than 60 peer-reviewed publications.

Morgenstern has pioneered studies in stroke behavioral interventions and community engagement. The NIH-funded Kids Identifying and Defeating Stroke, the first stroke intervention to target children, improved middle school children’s behavioral intent to call 9-1-1 for stroke.

He has made major contributions in intracerebral hemorrhage treatment, including conducting the pilot randomized trial of hematoma evacuation after intracerebral hemorrhage in the U.S. Surgical Treatment for Intracerebral Hemorrhage trial, which demonstrated this type of trial’s feasibility and laid the foundation for future, more definitive studies.

Morgenstern also is a recognized leader and mentor. He has co-chaired and chaired the International Stroke Conference and has been a dedicated American Heart Association/American Stroke Association volunteer, serving on several committees, including guideline and statement writing committees, since the mid-1990s. An active and dedicated mentor to medical students, residents, fellows, junior faculty and graduate students, Morgenstern has served as the primary mentor of eight NIH career development awards.

Morgenstern has made his mark as a clinician, credited with developing the University of Michigan’s Joint Commission designated comprehensive stroke center.

“Dr. Morganstern is an outstanding example of the successful patient-oriented researcher,” said Ralph L. Sacco, M.D., M.S., chairman of neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and past president of the American Heart Association. “He is one of the few stroke epidemiologists in the U.S. and has established a national and international reputation.”

The Globus Award is named for the late renowned cerebrovascular researcher and is given to a researcher in training. Shoamanesh, an assistant professor of neurology at McMaster University, will present abstract 213: “Cerebral Microbleeds in 1,278 Lacunar Stroke Patients: The Secondary Prevention of Small Subcortical Strokes (SPS3) Trial” at 9:09 a.m. CT, Friday, Feb. 13 (Davidson Ballroom C).

This largest reported study of lacunar stroke focused on cerebral microbleeds, researchers demonstrated that cerebral microbleeds are common and independently predict stroke recurrence. As a result, patients with lacunar stroke and cerebral microbleeds represent a more aggressive cerebral small vessel disease form in need of proven treatment strategies.

The Siekert Award is named for the founding chair of the International Stroke Conference and is presented to an outstanding young scientist. Hays, an assistant professor in bioengineering at the University of Texas at Dallas, is recognized for abstract 162: “Vagus Nerve Stimulation Enhances Neuroplasticity and Forelimb Recovery after Stroke in Aged Rats.” The study, which Hays will present at 1:30 p.m. CT, Thursday, Feb. 12, (Room 205) concludes vagus nerve stimulation enhances neuroplasticity and post-stroke recovery in aged rats. This increase in recovery may be supported by reorganization of corticospinal tract projections from the unlesioned motor cortex.

The Emergency Medicine Award is for the highest scoring abstract. Bekelis, a neurosurgery resident at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and research fellow at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, will present abstract 51: “Access to Primary Stroke Centers for Older Adults and Implications for Travel Times, and Mortality” at 1:42 p.m. CT, Wednesday, Feb. 11 (Room 207). The study is a retrospective look at data on nearly 511,000 Medicare patients admitted for stroke in 2008 to 2009. Researchers found notable regional variation in primary stroke center access for elderly stroke patients, with a potential impact on mortality. They concluded optimal helicopter service use could address disparities in access.

The Stroke Rehabilitation Award encourages investigators to initiate or continue research in the emergency phase of acute stroke treatment. Feng, an assistant professor of neurology at Medical University of South Carolina, will present abstract 7: “Dose Response Relationship in Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Stroke Motor Recovery Studies” at 8:12 a.m. CT, Wednesday, Feb. 11 (Room 205). In it, researchers studied dose and current-response of transcranial direct current stimulation in post-stroke motor recovery. Their early analysis revealed a dose response relationship, best demonstrated by charge density per session.

Additional Resources:

  • Downloadable images related to this news release are on the right column of the release link

  • Follow news from ASA International Stroke Conference 2015 on @HeartNews #ISC15.


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