News Archive

Saturday, November 01, 2014 - Distinguished Professor Michael Chopp receives the Thomas Willis Lecture Award
Distinguished Professor Michael Chopp, of the Department of Physics, has been awarded the Thomas Willis Lecture Award by the American Heart Association. Each year the recipient of this award presents a lecture at the annual International Stroke Conference. The award recognizes contributions to the basic science underlying stroke, and is named in honor of Thomas Willis (1621-1675), an English doctor and founding member of the Royal Society who made significant contributions to our understanding of the neurophysiology of the brain.

In addition to his position at OU, Chopp is the scientific director of the Neuroscience Institute at Henry Ford Hospital. There he leads an outstanding group of investigators who have examined many facets of stroke, brain trauma, and brain tumors. In his laboratory at Henry Ford, Chopp has trained several graduate students in the Biomedical Sciences: Medicine Physics PhD program. For example, Mark Katakowski and Ben Buller both obtained their PhDs under Chopp’s guidance, and recently they published a study with Chopp to test if small vesicles called exosomes from stem cells can be used to deliver micro RNA molecules to brain tumor cells (Katakowski et al., “Exosomes From Marrow Stromal Cells Expressing miR-146b Inhibit Glioma Growth,” Cancer Letters, Volume 335, Pages 201-204, 2013). A summary of the stroke research carried out by Chopp’s team can be found in the review article “Neurorestorative Therapy for Stroke” (Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Volume 8, Article Number 382, 2014), coauthored with OU Adjunct Professor and Henry Ford Hospital researcher Jieli Chen, and Medical Physics PhD student Poornima Venkat. Venkat will be presenting part of her dissertation research at the same Conference where Chopp will receive his award, to be held February 11-13 in Nashville, Tennessee. Chopp has also collaborates with Katakowski, Associate Professor Evgeniy Khain of the Department of Physics, and Medical Physics graduate student Nicholas Charteris to study the basic mechanisms determining how brain tumors grow (for example, see “Migration of Adhesive Glioma Cells: Front Propataion and Fingering,” Physical Review E, Volume 86, Article Number 011904, 2012).

OU graduate students benefit tremendously by having a researcher of Chopp's caliber as a mentor. Although the Thomas Willis Lecture Award was granted primarily to recognize Chopp's own contributions to stroke research, it is also reflects his role as teacher and trainer of graduate students who subsequently become his collaborators in his quest to improve treatments for terrible and frightening illnesses such as stroke.