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Eminent pediatrician and geneticist awarded 2010 Pollin Prize

Published: 29 Apr 2010

Eminent pediatrician and geneticist awarded 2010 Pollin Prize Dr. Charles R. Scriver, Alva professor Emeritus of Human Genetics, co-awarded the largest international award for pediatric research

Eminent pediatrician and geneticist awarded 2010 Pollin Prize Dr. Charles R. Scriver, Alva professor Emeritus of Human Genetics, co-awarded the largest international award for pediatric research

Dr. Charles Robert Scriver, Alva professor Emeritus of Human Genetics in the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University, and Dr. Roscoe O. Brady, scientist emeritus and senior investigator at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in Bethesda, Md., have been awarded the 2010 Pollin Prize in recognition of their discovery of the molecular and biochemical basis of genetic inborn errors of metabolism and for applying these findings to the development of practical interventions that have improved the lives and health of countless children and infants.

"This is tremendous news! I congratulate Drs. Scriver and Brady, both widely acclaimed physician-scientists who have made an enormous impact on pediatric medicine and improved the health of generations of children worldwide," said Richard I. Levin, Vice-Principal (Health Affairs) and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine. "For McGill's hometown winner, Dr. Scriver, this outstanding recognition is a most perfect complement to the award bestowed upon him earlier this year by the American Pediatric Society, the revered John Howland Medal. We are truly privileged to know and benefit from such genius and commitment in our health sciences community, in Quebec and internationally."

The $200,000 Pollin Prize, the largest international award for pediatric research, will be shared between the winners. Half of the award will be split between the two winners and the remainder will go to support institutions of the two doctors' choosing. Dr. Scriver has chosen to donate his portion to McGill.

The award ceremony took place on April 23 at the Vivian and Seymour Milstein Family Heart Center in New York City.

"The Pollin Prize is an elegant example of philanthropy at work," said Dr. Scriver.  "The prize is focused on research in the area of pediatrics and it emphasizes research that over time benefits the lives of many people. From my personal point of view, I am pleased to acknowledge the important role played by colleagues and support at McGill."

Dr. Scriver, considered among McGill's most influential scientists and teachers, played a seminal role in establishing the field of modern biochemical genetics. He is renowned for developing methods of treating children afflicted with a variety of genetically determined metabolic diseases and he was instrumental in the development and implementation of the Quebec Network of Genetic Medicine. Now all babies born in the province are routinely screened for a variety of genetic diseases. In addition, Dr. Scriver is recognized as an important early advocate of public health. His recommendation that Vitamin D be added to milk has had a direct impact on generations of Quebecers.

Dr. Scriver, graduated from McGill with a BA in 1951 and with an MDCM in 1955. He was awarded the Wood Gold Medal and J. Francis Williams Prize for being first in his medical school class. Author of more than 340 peer-reviewed journal articles and more than 300 textbook chapters, Dr, Scriver is also widely known as the co-editor of the authoritative multi-volume textbook titled "The Metabolic & Molecular Bases of Inherited Disease," considered by many to be the encyclopedia of inherited disease. He is the recipient of many awards and honors, including the Gairdner International Award, the Royal Society of Canada's McLaughlin Medal, and the Canadian Medical Association's Medal of Service. In 2001, he was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. He is a Companion of the Order of Canada and a grand officier de l'Ordre du Québec.

Created in memory of Linda and Kenneth Pollin, and administered by NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, The Pollin Prize consists of a $100,000 award to the recipient or recipients, and a $100,000 fellowship stipend to be awarded by the recipient or recipients to institutions selected by the recipients. The stipend is intended to support a substantial portion of salary and laboratory expenses for two years.

Previous Pollin Prize recipients include, in 2002, Drs. Norbert Hirschhorn, Dilip Mahalanabis, David R. Nalin and Nathaniel F. Pierce for developing oral rehydration therapy; in 2003, Drs. Emil Frei II, Emil J. Freireich, James F. Holland and Donald Pinkel for development of treatments for childhood leukemia; in 2004, Dr. Alfred Sommer for discoveries leading to the widespread use of inexpensive vitamin A supplements; in 2005, Drs. Eric N. Olson and Abraham M. Rudolph for advancing the understanding of congenital heart malformations; in 2007, Dr. Samuel L. Katz for contributions to the development of the measles vaccine; in 2008, Dr. John Allen Clements for the discovery of pulmonary surfactant and its application to lung disease; and in 2009, Dr. Basil S. Hetzel for research linking brain damage with iodine deficiency.

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