The Les Turner ALS Foundation 30th Anniversary Symposium
(from left) Teepu Siddique, MD, Les Turner ALS Foundation/Herbert C. Wenske Foundation Professor and director of the Division of Neuromuscular Medicine; Joel Schechter, vice president of the Les Turner ALS Foundation; Harvey Gaffen, founding member and president of the Les Turner ALS Foundation; Pembe Hande Ozdinler, PhD, assistant professor in the Ken and Ruth Davee Department of Neurology and Clinical Neurological Sciences; and Wendy Abrams, executive director of the Les Turner ALS Foundation.
On May 25, Feinberg and the Les Turner ALS Foundation celebrated the progress in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) research and care made possible thanks to the 30-year partnership between the two organizations.
More than 200 faculty, staff, students, foundation supporters, and ALS patients and their families attended the event, which was hosted at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center. The symposium featured the research of Teepu Siddique, MD, Les Turner ALS Foundation/Herbert C. Wenske Foundation Professor and director of the Division of Neuromuscular Medicine, and Pembe Hande Ozdinler, PhD, assistant professor in the Ken and Ruth Davee Department of Neurology and Clinical Neurological Sciences.
Siddique described the history of ALS research and shared recent breakthroughs with the audience. In particular, he described his team’s recent discovery of a link between sporadic and familial forms of the disease. Ozdinler described several high impact collaborations in which she is involved and shared her plans to define her role as a faculty member at Feinberg. She described the path she will take to turn potential energy into discoveries through well-designed collaborations at Northwestern.
Wendy Abrams, executive director of the Les Turner ALS Foundation, followed the two neuroscientists. She spoke about her passion for ALS research and patient care, and said that she felt privileged to collaborate with Feinberg on this endeavor. She expressed her gratitude to J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD, vice president for medical affairs and Lewis Landsberg Dean, and announced that he will be honored next year at the Hope Through Caring Award Dinner, a fundraiser hosted annually by the Les Turner ALS Foundation.
John A. Kessler, MD, Ken and Ruth Davee Professor of Stem Cell Biology and chair of the department of neurology and clinical neurological sciences, spoke last. He pointed to the pivotal role the Les Turner foundation has played in ALS breakthroughs, and discussed some of the promising research in cell regeneration currently being conducted at the medical school.
He closed the ceremony by quoting turn-of-the-century writer and attorney Albert Pike: “What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”