Physician and scientist Mahlon DeLong, MD, was recognized for his achievements in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease with the 2015 Taubman Prize for Excellence in Translational Medical Science. The University of Michigan’s A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute announced it was awarding DeLong for his contributions to improve the lives of thousands of patients.
By receiving the Taubman Prize for Excellence in Translational Medical Science, Mahlon DeLong, who serves as professor of Neurology at the Emory University School of Medicine, will be granted $100,000 to advance his research. With 40 years of experience, his research has resulted in the discovery of anatomical brain circuits that impact patients with Parkinson’s and are a novel target for surgical intervention.
The circuits are called subthalamic nucleus and are a part of the basal ganglia, brain structures located deep in the brain. The discovery was a foundation for the worldwide use of a now common technique to treat advanced Parkinson’s, high frequency deep-brain stimulation (DBS) of the subthalamic nucleus. Over 100,000 patients have already been treated with high frequency DBS, which reduces tremors and other motor impairments, increasing life quality.
“Dr. DeLong’s contribution to improved care and quality of life for patients with devastating movement disorders is remarkable,” stated the director of the Taubman Institute, Eva Feldman, MD, PhD, who is also a professor at the U-M Medical School. “He exemplifies the ethos of the dedicated clinician-scientist. We are honored to recognize his extraordinary contributions by awarding him the Taubman Prize.”
For decades, a research team led by Mahlon DeLong mapped brain activity to decipher the complex processes that impact motor function, thoughts and emotions. His basic research, animal models and experiments laid the foundations that increased knowledge on the abnormalities in brain circuits and how interrupting a key portion can improve clinical features of Parkinson’s patients.
The award, which was created in 2012 to honor outstanding translational medical research beyond the University of Michigan, is attributed after a national panel of eminent medical science experts analyzes dozens of nominees.