Accomplished Researchers Recognized at 2017 Oligonucleotide Therapeutics Society Annual Meeting

Wednesday, September 27, 2017 General News
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BORDEAUX, France, Sept. 27, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The Oligonucleotide Therapeutics Society (OTS) has announced its 2017 Award

Series as part of the 2017 Annual Meeting held September 24-27, 2017 in Bordeaux, France. This year the OTS is recognizing four outstanding scientists for their contributions to the field
of oligonucleotide therapeutics, as well as providing 20 exceptional doctorate graduate students and post-doctoral researchers with travel grants to offset the expenses of their travel.

OTS is honored to recognize Dr. Michael J. Gait, Ph.D., Medical Research Council, Laboratory of Molecular Biology, as the recipient of the 2017 OTS Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Gait is honored with this award in recognition of a lifetime of outstanding contributions to the field of oligonucleotide therapeutics through education, research, and therapeutic application. Dr. Gait's early career was built on understanding ribozymes and HIV RNA-protein interactions. Currently, he is focusing on steric blocking antisense oligonucleotide analogues to target HIV RNA, as well as the peptide conjugates of PNA and PNO oligonucleotide analogues as a potential treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and other neuromuscular diseases. Dr. Gait's lab, in partnership with Matthew Wood and the University of Oxford, plan to create a spinoff company to house the potential Peptide-PMO conjugates when they enter the clinic for neuromuscular disease treatment. Dr. Gait will give a plenary lecture at the 2017 OTS Annual Meeting on Wednesday, September 27, 2017 from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. CET.

The recipient of this year's Paper of the Year Award is Dr. Richard Finkel, M.D., chief, division of neurology, department of pediatrics, Nemours Children's Hospital. Dr. Finkel is acknowledged as the primary author for his manuscript titled, "Treatment of infantile-onset spinal muscular atrophy with nusinersen: a phase 2, open-label, dose-escalation study," which was published in The Lancet.  Dr. Finkel will be presented with his award and will give a brief talk on spinal muscular atrophy, the SPINRAZA® (nusinersen) development program and his publication at the 2017 OTS Annual Meeting on Wednesday, September 27, 2017 at 9:10 a.m. CET.

Dr. Karyn Schmidt, Ph.D. of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and more recently, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, is the recipient of this year's Dr. Alan Gewirtz Memorial Scholarship Award. The Gewirtz Memorial Scholarship Award is given annually by the OTS as a tribute to Dr. Alan Gewirtz and his lifetime of contributions to the field of oligonucleotide therapeutics. Dr. Schmidt is acknowledged for her commitment to advancing the field through her impactful cancer research aiming to identify and design a treatment that decreases melanoma invasion and proliferation. Dr. Schmidt will be presented with her award and will give a brief talk on her research at the 2017 OTS Annual Meeting on Wednesday, September 27, 2017 at 8:30 a.m. CET.

Dr. Keith T. Gagnon, Ph.D. of Southern Illinois University is the recipient of this year's Mary Ann Liebert, Inc publishers Young Investigator Award. The Young Investigator Award recognizes the exceptional achievements of a young scientist having recently attained his or her advanced professional degree. Dr. Gagnon is acknowledged for his research and dedication to understanding the mechanisms and potential therapeutic opportunities for repeat expansion disorders, including frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Dr. Gagnon will be presented with his award and will give a brief talk on his research at the 2017 OTS Annual Meeting on Wednesday, September 27, 2017 at 8:50 a.m. CET.

"The OTS is honored to recognize this year's award winners and travel grant recipients, as well as our society's commitment to the field of oligonucleotide therapeutics. We are grateful for their continued contributions to the development of this growing field," said Dr. Arthur Krieg, president of the OTS and founder, CEO and managing director of Checkmate Pharmaceuticals. "Each year, the OTS formally recognizes not only the esteemed individuals who have provided countless contributions and dedicated their careers to oligonucleotide therapeutics, but also the year's most promising, young scientists who will lead the the advancement of the field in the years to come."

The Oligonucleotide Therapeutics Society is an open, nonprofit forum to foster academia and industry-based research and development of oligonucleotide therapeutics. For more information on OTS, visit its website,


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