Memorial Sloan Kettering pharmacologist Gavril Pasternak has been named a 2014 Harrington Scholar-Innovator for his work in developing a class of analgesics more potent than morphine but free from the negative side effects and potential for abuse associated with traditional opioids.
Each year, the Harrington Scholar-Innovator Grant Program selects up to 12 physician-scientists to be awarded these grants following a highly competitive, nationwide selection process. The grants provide funding to the scholar-innovators and their institutions to help move their research from basic discovery to clinical introduction.
Julius Axelrod Award in Pharmacology
Two years prior to the announcement of the Harrington Scholar-Innovator grant, Dr. Pasternak received the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics’ Julius Axelrod Award in Pharmacology for his other work in opioids and their receptors.
The award was established in 1991 to honor the memory of Julius Axelrod, an eminent American pharmacologist and mentor who shaped the fields of neuroscience, drug metabolism, and biochemistry. The society presents it annually to an individual who has made significant contributions to understanding the biochemical mechanisms underlying the pharmacological actions of drugs, as well as for contributions in mentoring other pharmacologists.
In making the award to Dr. Pasternak, the society noted that over the course of his career, he had helped to define a broad range of opioid receptors and their subtypes, and correlated them with the pharmacology of the drugs.