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McCullough named NINDS Outstanding Mentor

Written By: Roman Petrowski, UTHealth | Updated: August 23, 2019

Louise McCullough, MD, is recognized by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. (Photo by Amanda Patterson)

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has named Louise McCullough, MD, PhD, Roy M. And Phyllis Gough Huffington Distinguished Chair and professor of neurology, the recipient of the 2019 Landis Award for Outstanding Mentorship.

“I’m incredibly grateful to receive the Landis Award,” McCullough said. “It recognizes mentorship, and advancing the careers of trainees is one of the things I’m most passionate about. It really is a lifetime award for mentorship and scholarship.”

Presented by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the award emphasizes the high value NINDS places on mentorship. The committee hopes to encourage faculty to make mentorship a strong component of their career, as well as encouraging institutional leaders to promote and reward excellent mentorship and include its criterion for evaluating academic success.

The Landis Award provides $100,000 in direct costs towards an existing NINDS grant to support continuing efforts towards fostering the career advancement of trainees. McCullough will use the award in conjunction with her current mentorship program to support two applicants, a MD/PhD student and a nursing student in an effort to bring more nursing researchers into science.

“We are thrilled to announce this year’s winners of the Landis Award. Good mentors play a key role in inspiring and encouraging current and future scientists, but they don’t always receive the recognition they deserve,” said Walter Koroshetz, MD, director of NINDS. “This award lets the community know how important mentorship is for sustaining scientific research enterprise.”

McCullough’s program, “Camp McCullough,” employs around 10 undergraduates per summer, selected from a growing list of applicants. Students spend the summer months in the lab developing projects and contributing to papers in an effort to be competitive for graduate or medical school. The McCullough Lab focuses on stroke research, including sex differences in the brain’s response to damage and how aging and inflammation affect stroke recovery.

McCullough graduated with a medical degree from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and continued her training at Johns Hopkins for a neurology residency followed by a fellowship in cerebrovascular disease. She later joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins Hospital and began her translational research career before relocating to Connecticut and serving as a professor at the University of Connecticut Health Center and John Dempsey Hospital as well as director of stroke research and education at Hartford Hospital. McCullough has been with McGovern Medical School since 2015.

Story Landis, PhD, was the director of NINDS from 2003-14 and established programs to help promote the development of neuroscientists. Dr. Landis was known for her dedication to mentorship, providing guidance to researchers at all stages of their careers.

The NINDS is the nation’s leading funder of research on the brain and nervous system. The mission of NINDS is to seek fundamental knowledge about the brain and nervous system and use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease.

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