VA Honors Yale Neurologist Waxman

New Haven, Conn. — Yale neurologist Stephen G. Waxman received the Department of Veterans Affairs’ William S. Middleton Award on April 29, 2009 at ceremonies that included a reception at the U.S. Capitol in Washington.

The Middleton Award is the VA’s highest scientific honor and was given to Waxman for his research on spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis and painful nerve injuries. His lab hopes to develop new therapeutic strategies that will restore functions such as sensation and the ability to walk after spinal cord, nerve and brain injury. His research was the first to show the changes in molecules within nerve cells that permit remissions—recovery of previously lost functions such as vision and motor control—in multiple sclerosis. He has identified key molecules that are responsible for pain after nerve and spinal cord injury.

Waxman has published over 500 scientific papers, has authored the books “Spinal Cord Compression” and “Clinical Neuroanatomy,” the latter of which has been translated into eight languages. He has edited eight books on nervous system injury and repair. He has trained hundreds of neurologists and neuroscientists who do research at institutions around the world.

“I am deeply honored to receive an award named for Dr. Middleton, who forged immensely important alliances between the VA and the nation’s medical schools,” said Waxman. “I accept it, not as an individual researcher, but as a representative of an outstanding and highly committed research team, and as a tribute to the partnership between Yale University, the VA, the Paralyzed Veterans of America, and United Spinal Association which established our Research Center. Each month we move closer to cures for spinal cord injury, nerve injury, and multiple sclerosis. I am confident that, ultimately, we will conquer these disorders”

Waxman, trained both as a neurologist and a neuroscientist, is the director of the Neuroscience and Regeneration Research Center, a collaboration of Yale University, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Paralyzed Veterans of America, and the United Spinal Association, located at the West Haven campus of VA Connecticut Healthcare. He is the Bridget Flaherty Professor of Neurology, Neurobiology, and Pharmacology at the Yale School of Medicine. He is also Visiting Professor and co-director of the Yale-London Collaboration on Nervous System Injury at University College London. Having served as Chair of Neurology at Yale since 1986, Dr. Waxman is now making a transition to a full time role doing what he enjoys most, research, as director of the research center at Yale’s VA Connecticut campus.