The recipient of the 2019 Philip R. Dodge Young Investigator Award is Louis T. Dang, MD, PhD from the University of Michigan. The Dodge Award is an award for basic science or clinical research by promising young investigators who are members of the Child Neurology Society. Applications are judged on the basis of originality, scientific merit, succinctness and relevance. 

Dr. Dang will receive a grant-in-aid of $30,000 and will present his work, “Targeting upstream open reading frames to amplify haploinsufficient SCN1A expression,” at the 48th Annual Meeting of the Child Neurology Society in Charlotte, NC on Friday morning, October 25, 2019.

The first CNS Young Investigator Award was presented to Dr. Michael Pranzatelli in 1983. The award was renamed in 2004 to honor those qualities Dr. Dodge raised to high art in his long and storied career at Massachusetts General Hospital and Washington University in St. Louis: excellence in research, commitment to compassionate and discerning patient care, conscientious sharing of knowledge and skills with peers and protegees, and delight in mentoring and inspiring his successors in the field. It is worth noting that Dr. Dang’s Dodge Award Lecture will be immediately followed on Friday morning by the Bernard Sachs Award Lecture, given this year by Dr. Scott Pomeroy, Chair of the Department of Neurology at Boston Children’s Hospital, and a direct beneficiary of Dr. Dodge’s teaching and legacy during his training years spent at Washington University. 

Summarizing the research Dr. Dang submitted for review and will present in October, CNS Awards Chair, Dr. Nigel Bamford notes “Dravet Syndrome is typically caused by heterozygous, loss-of-function mutations in the SCN1A gene. Dr. Dang will use antisense oligonucleotides to target upstream open reading frames that are 5’ of the primary open reading frame of SCN1A. He hypothesizes that this will result in increased SCN1A expression and functional rescue in neurons derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells containing SCN1A mutations

Dr. Dang completed his undergraduate studies at Stanford University, received his MD from Johns Hopkins University, and completed his child neurology training at the University of Michigan, where he currently serves as Clinical Lecturer.