Remarks by Steven J. Henriksen, Ph.D., Department of Neuropharmacology, The Scripps Research Institute
I have the honor of representing a truly distinguished group of our colleagues who have enthusiastically supported the nomination of Dr. Lisa Gold for the Joseph Cochin Young Investigator Award of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence. This award represents the highest accolade given by the College for early career research achievement and reflects Dr. Cochin’s lifelong effort for recognition and support of creative young scientists in drug abuse research. Indeed, Joe Cochin has touched the careers of many in this room at different points in their career, including this year’s Nathan Eddy Awardee, Dr. Martin Adler, who, I am assured, will share that with us during his talk.
Before I introduce this years Cochin Prize winner, I would like to first like to acknowledge and introduce to you a delightful person who is most responsible for her daughter’s actually being being here, and receiving this award, today, Ms. Susan Gold. Could you please stand, Ms Gold? We are delighted to have you here to celebrate and share in Lisa’s achievement.
Lisa H. Gold has recently been promoted to an Associate Professor in the Department of Neuropharmacology at the Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California, with the full endorsement of Dr. Floyd Bloom, Department Chairman. She has been at Scripps since 1991, where she serves as the Director of the laboratory of Primate Neurobehavioral Pharmacology. She also holds an Adjunct appointment in the Department of Neurosciences at the University of California at San Diego.
Dr. Gold received her undergraduate degree from Tufts University in Biopsychology. Here, she had her first significant research experience working under the tutelage of Dr. Klaus Miczek, where she developed a taste for primate behavioral research. As a harbinger of the Cochin Award, at graduation from Tufts she received the Carmichael Prize, given to the graduate with outstanding promise in a career in biological or behavioral research.
After her baccalaureate, and at an important juncture in her career, she chose to take a job at Hoffmann-La Roche in New Jersey and worked for three years with Dr. Jerry Sepinwall and John Sullivan in pre-clinical pharmacology. It was here that she acquired the knowledge of industry standard, good laboratory practices, in which she has appropriately mentored to her collaborators ever since. After this stint in industry, Lisa chose to pursue her advanced degree at the University of California San Diego, and began to work as a pre-doctoral student with Dr. George Koob. After a very productive research experience, Lisa submitted her thesis entitled “Neuropsychopharmacology of Conditioned Hyperactivity” and was granted a Ph.D. in Neuroscience. Lisa then revisited her interest in primate neuropharmacology and successfully competed for a coveted postdoctoral position with Dr. Bob Balster at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond where she mastered, among other things, the methodology of drug self-administration and drug discrimination in Rhesus monkeys. Lisa was then recruited back to Scripps by Drs. Koob and Bloom to participate as a faculty member in a new program of research involving primate behavior, as well as to continue her research in drugs of abuse.
Today we are recognizing Dr. Gold for a series of singular research achievements since coming to Scripps. I would just like to highlight two or three of these lines of research in the interest of time. First, she was very early to recognize the utility of genetic animal models, and molecular engineering approaches, and their utility for research questions in behavioral pharmacology. Second, she has continued her primate drug abuse work and is currently investigating the widely abused, but rarely studied drug, MDMA in this animal model. Finally, she has developed an impressive program in the neurobehavioral consequences of viral pathogenesis using both primate and murine models, and has written authoritative reviews and timely articles in these areas of research.
Although now carrying on several complex research programs, Lisa would, I am sure, acknowledge that her research achievements reflect the outstanding pedigree of her mentors in several areas of research, and the superb training she received. Always gracious, she must, however, understand that this award is for her own significant accomplishments.
Similar to other awards presented today, the Cochin Young Investigator Award provides recognition for research accomplishments. However, the Cochin Award implies something more, in that it suggests and instills expectation by this community of scientists toward the recipient. Lisa, as a representative of those of us who supported your nomination for this award, we are honored that the CPDD Awards Committee agreed with our characterization of your scientific creativity, your scientific and personal integrity, your unbounded energy, and finally, your place in the future of drug abuse research. Indeed, the College believes you will bring further distinction to this special Award, as others have done.
I now present the 1997 Joseph Cochin Young Investigator Award to Dr Lisa H. Gold.