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NYU Langone Medical Center’s Steven J. Burden, PhD, and Oliver Sacks, MD, Elected 2013 Fellows of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

NYU Langone Medical Center announced today that neurobiologist Steven J. Burden, PhD, and neurologist Oliver Sacks, MD, have been named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Election is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers in recognition of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.  

“We are thrilled that Drs. Burden and Sacks have received this important and richly deserved honor,” said Dafna Bar-Sagi, PhD, vice dean for Science and chief scientific officer at NYU Langone. “Both men share a passion for exploration, for confronting intellectual challenges, and have demonstrated high professional achievement and commitment to service. With their elections, they join the growing ranks of our medical center’s world-class scientists and clinicians previously named AAA Fellows, bringing the number of NYU Langone AAAS Fellows to 17.”

Dr. Burden was elected as an AAAS Fellow for distinguished contributions to the understanding of neuromuscular synapse formation, particularly identification and study of the Agrin, Lrp4, MuSK and Dok-7 signaling pathway. Dr. Burden, who joined NYU Langone in 1995, is professor of biochemistry and molecular pharmacology and cell biology and a member of the Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine. An internationally recognized expert in the mechanisms of the neuromuscular synapse, he has discovered genes critical for motor neurons to form and maintain synapses with skeletal muscle. Dr. Burden’s studies have led to an understanding of the signaling events that control synapse formation and his work provides a basis for understanding how dysfunction in this pathway causes neuromuscular disease as well as insight into the design of therapies to treat these diseases. He has been a Sloan Foundation Fellow, a McKnight Foundation Scholar, the Thomas and Virginia Cabot Professor at MIT, and was a two-time Jacob Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award recipient from the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Sacks was elected to the AAAS for distinguished contributions to public awareness and understanding of science, and of the history of chemistry, through his book Uncle Tungsten and other writings. In 2012 he joined NYU Langone as a professor of neurology. He has long-standing ties to NYU Langone, where for many years he has collaborated on unusual neurological conditions with his colleague, Orrin Devinsky, MD, professor of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry and director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at NYU Langone. Dr. Sacks is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and, for over 25 years, a fellow of The New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU. A frequent contributor to The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books, he is also the author of 12 books, including Hallucinations, Musicophilia, Awakenings, and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.

This year’s AAAS Fellows will be formally announced in the AAAS News & Notes section of the journal Science on November 29, 2013. Additionally, Drs. Burden and Sacks, along with 388 members who were also elected, will be recognized on February 15, 2014, at the AAAS Fellows Forum during the 2014 AAAS Annual Meeting in Chicago. 

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