Thomas Durcan is the first ever recipient of The Cyril and Dorothy, Joel and Jill Reitman Foundation Prize for Open Science in Action, created this year to encourage and reward researchers who have shown leadership in implementing open science principles to make an impact in neuroscience. Joel Reitman presented Durcan with the award at The Neuro’s inaugural Open Science Symposium on Nov. 18, 2019
Durcan, a native of Ireland, is an assistant professor at The Neuro and McGill University, and associate director of the Early Drug Discovery Unit (EDDU). The EDDU specializes in making induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and neurological disease specific assays. They also collaborate with academic and industry partners to develop new open science tools and technologies that use iPSCs.
Durcan also publishes his lab’s protocols on openlabnotebooks.org, a blog run by the Structural Genomics Consortium that allows scientists to post their methods so that other researchers can learn from them.
"Getting this award was a complete shock but also a great honor,” says Durcan. “That I was recognized for my work on open science meant a great deal to me, and it was even more special that it came from the Reitman family. Having been at the Neuro since 2007 and attended every Reitman lunch, it meant a lot to me to receive it from them given their close relationship with The Neuro. I hope to make them proud and continue my efforts spreading the message on open science into next year and beyond."
The prize is worth $25,000 and will fund Duncan’s research. The Reitman family has a long history of philanthropy with The Neuro, including the annual Reitman Holiday Luncheon, a free lunch provided to all staff, students, and faculty.