CURE Research Director H. Steve White, Ph.D., Awarded for Contributions to the Field of Epilepsy and Seizures
CURE Research Director H. Steve White, Ph.D., who also serves as a professor of pharmacology and toxicology and principal investigator of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-sponsored Anticonvulsant Drug Development Program at the University of Utah College of Pharmacy, has been named the 2014 recipient of the Epilepsy Foundation’s Lifetime Accelerator Award, in recognition of his commitment and pioneering contributions to the field of epilepsy and seizures. Dr. White will be honored at the 4th Biennial Epilepsy Pipeline Conference 2014, being held June 5-7, 2014, at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco.
A leader in translational research in anticonvulsant drug therapies, Dr. White is well-recognized for his scientific leadership of the University of Utah NIH-sponsored Anticonvulsant Drug Development (ADD) Program, founded in 1975 by the late Ewart A. Swinyard in collaboration with the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), NIH. Dr. White’s career in antiepileptic drug discovery began in 1986 as the senior scientist of the ADD Program. Over the three decades that mark Dr. White’s research in the field, this program has played a crucial role in the early identification and characterization of thousands of novel anticonvulsant medications using established seizure and epilepsy models. Dr. White's laboratory has identified and characterized the anticonvulsant profile and potential mechanism of action for established and new anti-epilepsy agents. Notably, the efforts of the faculty, staff and students of this program, which Dr. White has directed since 2001, have since its establishment in 1975 contributed to the successful development of multiple new therapeutics, including felbamate, rufinamide, topiramate, retigabine and lacosamide.
“On behalf of the Epilepsy Foundation and many clinicians treating seizure conditions today, we are especially pleased to honor Dr. White with the Lifetime Accelerator Award and to recognize his outstanding contributions in anticonvulsant drug development,” said Philip M. Gattone, president and CEO of the Epilepsy Foundation. “We are grateful not only for his steadfast commitment to our mission, but also for his energy and enthusiasm for mentoring the next generation of neuroscientists and epilepsy educators.”
“Dr. White has been a force behind many of the therapeutics used in treatment today. He is truly dedicated to finding therapies that will make a difference to patients through development of new animal models,” said Jacqueline A. French, M.D., director of the Epilepsy Study Consortium, and director of clinical trials at NYU’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center. “He has given generously of his free time to collaborate with other researchers and epilepsy organizations and this recognition is well-deserved.”
Ongoing translational research in Dr. White's laboratory is focused on the development of novel models of therapy resistant models and understanding the influence of genetics on the pathophysiology, seizure-susceptibility and anti-epileptic drug pharmacology of animal seizure and epilepsy models. Dr. White and his colleagues at Utah and the NINDS are conducting research that may lead to novel therapies for treatment-resistant epilepsy and importantly, disease-modifying therapies with the potential to halt, slow, or prevent the development of epilepsy in susceptible individuals. He is also a scientific co-founder of NeuroAdjuvants, Inc., a Salt Lake City-based biotechnology firm focused on the development of metabolically stable, blood-brain-barrier neuropeptides for the treatment of refractory epilepsy and pain.
Dr. White earned his Ph.D. in Pharmacology in 1984 at the University of Utah and an M.S. in Pharmacology and baccalaureate degree in Pharmacy at Idaho State University. He began his career as a practicing pharmacist and since 1984 has risen through the academic ranks at the University of Utah. On November 18, 2011, Dr. White received an Honorary Doctor of Science from The University of Copenhagen Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Copenhagen, Denmark. Over the years, Dr. White has been the recipient of significant research funding from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and he and his collaborators have published over 170 original papers pertaining to the mechanism of action and the pharmacology of antiepileptic drugs. In addition to his academic service, Dr. White has served as Research Director of CURE (Citizen’s United for Research in Epilepsy), the largest non-governmental provider of epilepsy research funding, since November 2011.