Children's Hospital Media and Press Relations
Department of Pediatrics Newsletter Archive
Toxicology society honors work of Michael Aschner, Ph.D.
By Jeremy Rush
April 14, 2011

Michael Aschner, Ph.D., Gray E.B. Stahlman Professor of Neuroscience and professor of Pediatrics and Pharmacology, has received this year's Merit Award from the Society of Toxicology.

The Merit Award is the oldest award given by the global organization of toxicology scientists, and highlights Aschner's exemplary career in research, teaching, regulatory activities and consulting as it relates to toxicology.

Aschner is an authority on metal neurotoxicity, particularly with regard to manganese — an element in the Earth's crust used in industrial processes and is an essential dietary metal for animals.

High doses of manganese can be toxic to the brain and can cause “manganism,” a syndrome that resembles Parkinson's disease. In addition, he has identified the molecular mechanisms of methylmercury neurotoxicity — the toxic effects of heavy metal mercury on the brain and nervous system.

Aschner also directs the Division of Pediatric Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology and serves as a senior scientist in the Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development.

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