Professor Clive Ballard Wins 2019 International Outstanding Achievement Award

TORONTO, March 29, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Professor Clive Ballard, Executive Dean of the University of Exeter Medical School, was presented with the 2019 Weston Brain Institute International Outstanding Achievement Award in Lisbon, Portugal. This £25,000 award recognizes an exceptional researcher who has made significant advances in accelerating the development of therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases of aging through translational research, has demonstrated remarkable leadership, and has a record of impeccable citizenship in the research community. This year’s prize was provided by the Selfridges Group and was open to researchers based in Ireland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.

2019 International Outstanding Achievement Award: Professor Clive Ballard
Professor Clive Ballard is a world leader in dementia prevention and drug discovery, and an advocate for improved care for patients of neurodegenerative diseases of aging. Throughout his career, Professor Ballard has been the lead PI or co-PI on more than 30 clinical trials that evaluate various therapeutic interventions for neurodegenerative diseases of aging. His landmark clinical trials include the DART AD trial that highlighted the major long-term impact of using anti-psychotics on mortality in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients, and the HTA-SADD trial for testing the use of sertraline and mirtazapine for the treatment of depression in AD patients.

In addition to drug development, Professor Ballard is also heavily involved in the study of prevention strategies and alternative treatment opportunities for AD. For example, along with colleagues, he developed PROTECT, an online-based project, now adopted by the Dementia Platform UK, that aims to understand why some people develop dementia by collecting participants’ information on demographics, lifestyle, cognitive abilities, and DNA samples, year after year.

Clive Ballard comments “I am absolutely honoured and delighted to receive the extremely prestigious 2019 Weston Brain Institute International Outstanding Achievement Award. The dementia research field is at a pivotal point, and we look forward to turning research opportunities into benefits for people with dementia over the next 10 years.”

Professor Ballard has published over 500 peer-reviewed manuscripts, and has been cited over 50,000 times. In the past 15 years, he has garnered more than £100 million in research funding. Professor Ballard also held leadership positions in a number of organizations, including Director of Research for Alzheimer’s Society in the UK (2003-2013), where he guided national policy around dementia treatment and care. In 2015, Professor Ballard was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. Professor Ballard is currently the Pro-Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean,

Professor of Age Related Diseases at the University of Exeter College of Medicine and Health.                                        

“I’m delighted that Professor Ballard was named this year’s recipient of the 2019 Weston Brain Institute International Outstanding Achievement award. Professor Ballard is a highly talented clinician who has developed important prevention strategies and alternative treatment opportunities for patients,” said Alexandra Stewart, Executive Director of the Weston Brain Institute.

Professor Ballard is the fourth recipient of the annual Weston Brain Institute International Outstanding Achievement award. The 2016 winner was Dr. Peter St George-Hyslop (Professor, University of Toronto) for accomplishments that include developing mouse models of AD as tools for drug development. In 2017, The Selfridges Group Foundation named Professor Nicholas Fox (Professor, University College London) the winner for accomplishments that include developing neuroimaging methods for the detection, diagnosis and monitoring of progression in neurodegenerative diseases of aging. The 2018 winner was Dr. Anthony Lang (Professor, University of Toronto) for his leadership in clinical trials and development of alternative therapeutic interventions for PD.  The 2020 award will be supported by The W. Garfield Weston Foundation and presented to a researcher based in Canada.

About the Weston Brain Institute
The Weston Brain Institute is Canada’s largest privately funded national initiative aimed at accelerating breakthrough discoveries for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases of aging, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and frontotemporal dementia. The Institute directly supports Canada’s world-class neuroscience research community and focuses on high-risk, high-reward projects, independent of commercial potential, that address the existing translational gap in neurodegenerative research using an innovative fast-track granting model. In Canada, the Institute is a program of The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, and in Europe, the Weston Brain Institute is a program of the Selfridges Group Foundation.; twitter: @westonbrain; Facebook: WestonBrainInstitute

About the Selfridges Group Foundation
The Selfridges Group Foundation was set up to coordinate charitable and philanthropic activities within Selfridges Group. Selfridges Group consists of Brown Thomas and Arnotts in Ireland, Holt Renfrew in Canada, de Bijenkorf in the Netherlands, and Selfridges in the UK. As part of its philanthropic work, the Selfridges Group Foundation supports medical research into treatments for brain disorders in Ireland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

The Selfridges Group Foundation has most recently awarded four grants through its Rapid Response programme in Ireland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. The exceptional scientists working on these projects are pursuing novel, high-risk, high-reward translational research in neurodegenerative diseases of aging.

The four recent grantees are:

  • Dr. Sahar El Aidy of University of Groningen, who is establishing a bacterial enzyme from the gut as a biomarker to predict the efficacy of levodopa treatment in patients with PD, to determine optimal dosing of levodopa and minimize side effects in PD patients.
  • Dr. Connie Jimenez of VU University Medical Center, who is developing and validating a panel of protein-based biomarkers from CSF for the diagnosis and prognosis of mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease using mass spectrometry analysis.
  • Dr. Laura Parkkinen of University of Oxford, who is developing a biomarker to diagnose early PD, dementia with Lewy bodies and multiple system atrophy by detecting the protein alpha synuclein in CSF. Additionally, assessing the feasibility of measuring the biomarker in saliva and peripheral tissues (nasal brushings) rather than the more difficult-to-obtain CSF.
  • Dr. Eline Willemse of VU University Medical Center, who is measuring neurofilament light chain in CSF and blood of patients with Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, and dementia with Lewy bodies to develop curves of how this biomarker changes over time for different diseases, genders and ages. This will help with differential diagnosis, earlier diagnosis and predicting disease progression. If successful, the group aims to create an app for healthcare providers to use with patients.

For more information, please contact:
Annette Cremin

Georgia Frost


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