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[November 21, 2008]

Dr. Todd Sacktor Wins Award from Society for Neuroscience:
Research Holds ‘Tremendous Promise’ for Treating Memory Diseases

 

Todd C. Sacktor, MD, professor of physiology and pharmacology and of neurology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, has been honored with a 2008 Research Award for Innovation in Neuroscience (RAIN) from the Society for Neuroscience at the group’s annual meeting in Washington, DC. Dr. Sacktor was one three recipients of the RAIN prize, which includes an unrestricted grant of $25,000 to each recipient. The award honors innovative research advancing novel ideas to generate significant breakthroughs in neuroscience.

In announcing the recipients, the society said that discoveries made by Dr. Sacktor and his colleagues at SUNY Downstate “hold tremendous promise for treatments of diseases of memory,” noting that “Sacktor’s research on the hippocampus and long-term potentiation (LTP) led to his findings that a specific isoform of protein kinase C, PKM zeta, was persistently active in the induction of LTP, and that this persistent activity might play a key role in the maintenance of LTP.” They added, “His work is forcing scientists to reevaluate notions of how memories are stored in the brain.”

In the August 25, 2006 issue of Science, Sacktor and his colleagues reported that PKM zeta preserves long-term memories through persistent strengthening of synaptic connections between neurons. The publication subsequently called the Sacktor team’s findings one of the top ten science stories of the year.   

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SUNY Downstate Medical Center, founded in 1860, was the first medical school in the United States to bring teaching out of the lecture hall and to the patient’s bedside. A center of innovation and excellence in research and clinical service delivery, SUNY Downstate Medical Center comprises a College of Medicine, Colleges of Nursing and Health Related Professions, a School of Graduate Studies, a Graduate Public Health Program, University Hospital of Brooklyn, and an Advanced Biotechnology Park and Biotechnology Incubator.

SUNY Downstate ranks eighth nationally in the number of alumni who are on the faculty of American medical schools.  More physicians practicing in New York City have graduated from SUNY Downstate than from any other medical school.