Halifax researcher wins Prix Galien Research Award

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Dr. Donald Weaver, a Halifax researcher with unmatched credentials, received the Prix Galien Research Award at a ceremony in Ottawa last night. Known as the Nobel Prize of pharmaceutical research, this award is the highest distinction worldwide for biopharmaceutical work, and the most prestigious in the field of Canadian pharmaceutical research and innovation.

Dr. Weaver is professor and Canada Research Chair in Clinical Neuroscience at Dalhousie University and research director for the Dalhousie Medical School/Capital Health Department of Medicine. He's also a professor of chemistry at Dalhousie. Dr. Weaver received the Prix Galien Research Award for his efforts to design novel drug therapies to treat chronic neurological disorders such as epilepsy and Alzheimer's disease.

Federal health minister Leona Aglukkaq joined Dr. Jacques Gagné, president of Prix Galien Canada and Dr. Alain Beaudet, president of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, to present the 2009 Prix Galien Research Award to Dr. Weaver.

Dr. Weaver, along with three other award winners, were praised by the minister for having "achieved an extraordinary level of excellence." She said "their talent, hard work and dedication are helping to make Canada a world leader in health research."

Dr. Gagné said his organization wanted to "reinforce a scientific culture and create bridges between the scientific community, industry and institutions." The two Prix Galien awards were handed out in conjunction with three Canadian Health Research Awards given annually by Canadian Institutes of Health Research. "We are proud to take part in this celebration of success, victories and excellence," said Gagné.

"Considering the list of previous winners of this prestigious prize, I'm deeply honoured and pleased to be receiving this award," said Weaver. "However, I'm even more pleased that over the past two decades, we've been able to perform drug discovery research that's making a difference in the lives of people with chronic neurological problems."

"Don Weaver brings a unique perspective to the development of new drugs," said Dr. Martha Crago, Dalhousie University's vice-president of research. "He's the only neurologist in the world who holds a PhD in computational organic chemistry. He designs new drugs, he sets up companies to develop new drugs, and he treats patients in a clinical setting. He does it all -- from the lab bench to the patient's bedside."

"This is a wonderful peer recognition of Dr. Weaver's international-level research," said Dr. Ray LeBlanc, Capital Health's vice-president of learning, research, and innovation. "He's the consummate scientist who combines multi-disciplinary team work in the most successful collaborative manner; Don is a true role model for all clinician-scientists, and we are proud of him and his team members."

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