Leading Neuroscientist to Direct Appel Institute for Alzheimer's Research at Weill Cornell Medical College
New Institute to Focus on Promising Diagnostic and Therapeutic Approaches for Early Detection and Treatment of Alzheimer's Disease
NEW YORK (Sept. 27, 2010) — Distinguished neuroscientist and Alzheimer's researcher Dr. Steven Marc Paul will lead the new Helen & Robert Appel Institute for Alzheimer's Research at Weill Cornell Medical College.
Dr. Paul will join Weill Cornell faculty in September, with appointments in the Departments of Neurology & Neuroscience and Psychiatry. Previously, he has held senior research positions at Eli Lilly and Company and the National Institute of Mental Health.
"An enormously talented scientist and administrator, Dr. Steven Paul is uniquely qualified to lead the Appel Institute for Alzheimer's Research and propel efforts to develop new treatments for the prevention and management, and eventually defeat, of this devastating disease," says Dr. Antonio M. Gotto Jr., the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medical College. "We are very grateful to Helen and Bob Appel for their steadfast commitment to Alzheimer's patients and their families, and to making Weill Cornell a leading center for research into Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative disorders."
"Dr. Paul will contribute importantly to our neurodegenerative research program as he did at Eli Lilly, where he headed up research for many years," says Dr. David P. Hajjar, dean of Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences and executive vice provost, senior executive vice dean, and the Frank H.T. Rhodes Distinguished Professor of Cardiovascular Biology and Genetics and professor of biochemistry and pathology at Weill Cornell Medical College.
The Appel Institute is funded through a $15 million gift from Helen and Robert Appel. Located inside Weill Cornell's new Medical Research Building, which began construction in May, the Institute will be the locus and catalyst for Alzheimer's research by current Weill Cornell faculty and future recruits in neurology, neurogenetics, biochemistry, cell biology, microbiology, pharmacology and psychiatry.
"Helen and I are personally familiar with the devastating effect this disease has on individuals and their families. We are confident that this intense research effort led by Dr. Paul will result in better ways of preventing, treating, and one day eradicating Alzheimer's," says Robert Appel, a member of the Board of Overseers of Weill Cornell Medical College and chair of the Medical College's Discoveries that Make a Difference Capital Campaign.
Dr. Paul's own research has helped shed light on genetic factors that dramatically increase risk for Alzheimer's and actually cause the brain abnormalities (plaques and tangles) that lead to the loss of neurons and the symptoms of the disease. "Much like heart disease, Alzheimer's develops over time, affecting the brain as much as 10 years before any symptoms of cognitive impairment are evident. My research is focused on ways to catch Alzheimer's early and stop it in its tracks," he says. "While at Lilly, my research team discovered a novel potential new treatment for Alzheimer's disease (an antibody called solanezumab) which we believe clears amyloid plaques from the brain and which is now in the final phase of clinical testing. I want to thank Helen and Robert Appel for their generous philanthropic support for fundamental research, both at the bench and at the bedside, which will undoubtedly contribute to the effective treatment and ultimately prevention of this devastating disease. I also look forward to working closely with the world-class group of neuroscientists at Weill Cornell as we pursue many promising avenues for research on neurodegenerative disorders."
Dr. Paul was a key player in a unique research collaboration called the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative that recently reported breakthrough findings on biological markers for progression of Alzheimer's disease. As a member of the board of the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, he helped secure funding for the project and leveraged his connections in the NIH and in the pharmaceutical industry to help ensure its success.
In recent years, Alzheimer's researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College have contributed to several important advances. In the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, led by Dr. Matthew E. Fink, interim chair of Neurology and Neuroscience and neurologist-in-chief at Weill Cornell, faculty have helped show that human biomarkers and PET and MRI imaging can identify persons at risk for Alzheimer's. This is a vital step toward the development of preventive treatments. In the Department of Psychiatry, led by Dr. Jack Barchas, the Barklie McKee Henry Professor and chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell, faculty are looking at basic mechanisms of the brain such as brain growth factors and neuronal migration that may provide the groundwork for future Alzheimer's advances.
Dr. Steven M. Paul
Prior to joining Weill Cornell Medical College, Dr. Paul was vice president of science and technology and president of Lilly Research Laboratories of Eli Lilly and Company. In his role as Lilly's R&D leader, Dr. Paul oversaw the efforts of more than 8,000 LRL scientists and physician investigators with an annual R&D budget in excess of $4 billion. Under his direction, Lilly received the Best Late-Stage Pipeline Award in 2005, the Most Innovative Pipeline Award in 2008, the Best Neuroscience Pipeline Award and 2010, and the Best Early-Stage Pipeline Award from R&D Directions (an independent trade publication). In 2005, Dr. Paul was named Chief Scientific Officer of the Year as one of the Annual Pharmaceutical Achievement Awards.
Dr. Paul's research activities have established an important role for specific neurotransmitter receptors in mediating the central actions of various neuroactive drugs. His laboratory discovered a novel monoclonal antibody (solanezumab) directed at the amyloid-peptide which is currently in phase III clinical trials as a potential therapy. Among his many other contributions has been the delineation of the role of receptors for the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA in mediating the behavioral effects of benzodiazepines, barbiturates, short-chain alcohols, as well as a novel class of neuroactive steroids.
Dr. Paul received his Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude with honors, in biology and psychology from Tulane University in 1972. He received his Master of Science degree in anatomy (neuroanatomy) and his Doctor of Medicine degree, both in 1975, from the Tulane University School of Medicine. Following a residency in psychiatry at the University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine, he was awarded a research fellowship in the Pharmacology Research Associate Training Program of the National Institute of General Medical Science (NIGMS) to work with Nobel Laureate Dr. Julius Axelrod. In 1982, Dr. Paul was appointed chief of the Clinical Neuroscience Branch as well as chief of the Section on Preclinical Studies in the Division of Intramural Research Programs of the NIMH. In addition to serving as the scientific director of NIMH from 1988 to 1993, Dr. Paul has held adjunct appointments at several universities, including the Indiana University School of Medicine.
Prior to assuming his position at the Lilly Research Laboratories, Dr. Paul also served as medical director in the Commissioned Corps of the United States Public Health Service. He is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and has been elected a fellow in the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) and the Collegium Internationale NeuroPsychopharmacologicum. He has served on the ACNP Council and was elected president of the ACNP in 1999.
He has authored or co-authored more than 500 papers and invited book chapters and was listed as one of the most highly cited scientists in the world. He holds eight patents on inventions made both at NIH and Lilly. Dr. Paul serves on the editorial boards of several scientific journals and has served on several NIH extramural and intramural committees. He currently serves on the scientific advisory boards of the Allen Institute for Brain Sciences, the Institute on Aging at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and the School of Science and Engineering of Tulane University. Dr. Paul is a member of the executive committee of PhRMA's Science and Regulatory Committee and is currently its chairperson. He serves on the board of directors (or is a trustee) of the Sigma-Aldrich Corporation, Biotechnology Industry Organization, the Lilly Foundation, BioCrossroads, Mind Research Network, and the Foundation of the NIH. Dr. Paul served as a member of the NIGMS Advisory Council (1996 to 1999) and was appointed by the Secretary of HHS as a member of the Advisory Committee to the Director of NIH (2001 to 2006). He is currently a member of the National Advisory Mental Health Council, NIMH (2009 to 2012).
Dr. Paul is a member of various professional and honorary societies, which include the Tulane Scholars and Fellows; Phi Eta Sigma; Alpha Epsilon Delta; Sigma Xi; Phi Beta Kappa; and the Alpha Omega Alpha Honorary Medical Society. He is the recipient of many honors and scientific recognitions, including The A. E. Bennett Award of the Society of Biological Psychiatry; the Arthur S. Flemming Award by the Downtown Jaycees (outstanding research by a government employee); the Allan C. Davis Medal (Outstanding Young Scientist Award) of the Maryland Academy of Sciences; the Foundations' Fund Prize for Research of the American Psychiatric Association; the Daniel H. Efron Award of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology; the Max Hamilton Award of the Collegium Internationale NeuroPsychopharmacologicum; the Distinguished Service Medal of the United States Public Health Service; and the Chief Scientific Officer of the Year Award at the Pharmaceutical Achievement Awards gala. In 1997, Dr. Paul was elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences and currently serves on the IOM's Board on Health Sciences Policy. In 2009 Dr. Paul was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Weill Cornell Medical College
Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University's medical school located in New York City, is committed to excellence in research, teaching, patient care and the advancement of the art and science of medicine, locally, nationally and globally. Physicians and scientists of Weill Cornell Medical College are engaged in cutting-edge research from bench to bedside, aimed at unlocking mysteries of the human body in health and sickness and toward developing new treatments and prevention strategies. In its commitment to global health and education, Weill Cornell has a strong presence in places such as Qatar, Tanzania, Haiti, Brazil, Austria and Turkey. Through the historic Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, the Medical College is the first in the U.S. to offer its M.D. degree overseas. Weill Cornell is the birthplace of many medical advances -- including the development of the Pap test for cervical cancer, the synthesis of penicillin, the first successful embryo-biopsy pregnancy and birth in the U.S., the first clinical trial of gene therapy for Parkinson's disease, and most recently, the world's first successful use of deep brain stimulation to treat a minimally conscious brain-injured patient. Weill Cornell Medical College is affiliated with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, where its faculty provides comprehensive patient care at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. The Medical College is also affiliated with the Methodist Hospital in Houston. For more information, visit www.med.cornell.edu.