Akil receives national award for outstanding research

November 2, 2013

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A neuroscientist who probes the intersection between brain biology and mental health, and a physician who has led national health care change for decades, today received top national awards for their achievements.

Huda Akil and Gilbert S. Omenn

Both are leaders at the University of Michigan Health System, and faculty at the U-M Medical School. In fact, U-M is the only institution with two winners among the 10 recipients of this year’s six top awards from the Association of American Medical Colleges, or AAMC. The awards were presented at the AAMC’s meeting in Philadelphia.

The winners are:

Award for Distinguished Research in the Biomedical Sciences:

Huda Akil, Ph.D.

Akil, the Gardner C. Quarton Professor of Neurosciences in Psychiatry at the U-M Medical School, co-director and senior research professor at U-M’s Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute, and a member of the U-M Depression Center and co-chair of its Scientific Advisory Board, received AAMC’s top award for outstanding clinical or laboratory research conducted by a medical school faculty member.

A pioneer of what is now called systems neuroscience, she has made seminal contributions to the understanding of the neurobiology of emotions and the interplay between pain, anxiety, depression, stress, and substance abuse.

“Huda’s scientific work has transformed our understanding of the molecular, anatomical, and behavioral mechanisms of emotionality,” said James O. Woolliscroft, M.D., dean and Lyle C. Roll Professor of Medicine at the Medical School.

For more on Akil’s work, and achievements, see the AAMC award profile.


David E. Rogers Award:

Gilbert S. Omenn, M.D., Ph.D.

Fittingly, Omenn was inspired early in his career by the physician leader for whom the award is named – and went on to make the major contributions to improving the health and health care of the American people that the award recognizes.

Omenn is a U-M professor of Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics, Internal Medicine, Human Genetics, and Public Health. He  directs the university-wide Center for Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics as well as the global Human Proteome Project. From 1997 to 2002, he was CEO of the U-M Health System and U-M executive vice president for medical affairs, during the pivotal years of forming a modern academic medical center.

Over five decades, “Gil made fundamental basic scientific contributions, led major public health studies and initiatives, championed the role of academic medical centers, and played a key role in forming health policy for our nation,” says David Ginsburg, M.D., his U-M colleague and past AAMC Distinguished Research Award winner.

For more on Omenn’s work, and achievements, see the AAMC award profile.

Link to original UMHS press release.