Taubman Institute appoints two new scholars

Two University of Michigan clinician-scientists will receive three-year grants to pursue translational medical research aimed at helping patients with life-altering neurological disorders, the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute has announced.

Henry Paulson, M.D., Ph.D., has been appointed a Taubman Scholar and will receive $150,000 per year for three years to pursue research into the causes and treatments of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease.

“I am honored to be selected a Taubman Scholar,” said Paulson. “With this award, the talented scientists in my lab can accelerate our push toward therapies for currently untreatable degenerative brain disorders.”

Brad Foerster, M.D., Ph.D., has been appointed a Taubman Emerging Scholar and will receive a grant of $50,000 per year for three years.   He uses multiple advanced imaging techniques to study brain alterations in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS.

“I am thrilled to be selected as an Emerging Taubman Scholar,” said Foerster.  “This award will allow me to study inflammatory changes in the brains of ALS patients and has the potential to reveal new opportunities for effective treatments.”

The Taubman Institute, founded in 2007 with a gift from businessman and philanthropist A. Alfred Taubman, provides financial support to physician-researchers who combine an active patient practice with laboratory research aimed at finding new therapies for disease.

The Taubman Scholars program provides funding for selected senior U-M Medical School faculty who also are distinguished research scientists. Currently the institute funds eight Taubman Scholars, whose research applies to diseases ranging from cancer and stroke to obesity and the complications of diabetes. Since 2007, Taubman-funded science has led to 31 human clinical trials of novel therapies for disease.

The Taubman Emerging Scholars program is designed to encourage talented early-career junior faculty members to stay in the research arena, providing funds to establish their laboratories and the credentials necessary to pursue other grants. The institute currently supports nine Emerging Scholars as part of its mission to encourage the next generation of medical science.

About Dr. Paulson: As the Lucile Groff Professor of Neurology for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders in the Department of Neurology at the University of Michigan, Dr. Paulson – who joined the U-M faculty in 2007 – heads the U-M Medical School’s programs in neurodegenerative diseases and is Director of the Michigan Alzheimer's Disease Center.

Dr. Paulson received his M.D. and Ph.D. from Yale University in 1990, then completed a neurology residency and neurogenetics/movement disorders fellowships at the University of Pennsylvania. From 1997 to 2007, he was on the Neurology faculty at the University of Iowa. Dr. Paulson’s research and clinical interests concern the causes and treatment of age-related neurodegenerative diseases, with a focus on hereditary ataxia, polyglutamine diseases, and Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Paulson serves on the scientific advisory boards of numerous disease-related national organizations, and belongs to the Board of Scientific Counselors at the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke at the National Institutes of Health.

About Dr. Foerster: Dr. Foerster is an assistant professor of radiology at the U-M Medical School, and is working to develop a more definitive imaging test for ALS in the hopes that earlier diagnosis will lead to more effective intervention. He employs advanced statistical models to combine the results of the imaging data and evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of the imaging techniques.   He also examines changes in brain chemistry including the neurotransmitters, glutamate and GABA, which are thought to be important in the ALS disease process. In addition to his clinical research efforts, Dr. Foerster has a busy clinical practice and evaluates patients with aneurysms, strokes, multiple sclerosis and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Dr. Foerster studied chemical engineering and medicine at the University of Michigan. After his radiology residency at the University of Michigan, Dr. Foerster completed a neuroradiology fellowship and Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Foerster joined the University of Michigan faculty in 2009.


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