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2015 Turken Research Award Symposium

2015 Turken Research Awardee - Florence Roussotte, Ph.D. - Postdoctoral Scholar, Department of Neurology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA   

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

Beth Devermont, President and Director of the Sam and Ida Turken Charitable Foundation, is the daughter of Phyllis Turken Shamberg who began donating funds to Alzheimer's reserach on behalf of the Sam and Ida Turken Charitable Foundation in the 1980's.

In early 90's, Mrs. Shamberg initiated her first gift to UCLA, known as the "Turken Research Award". Each year, Ms. Devermont continues her mother's legacy by providing an annual gift to support early career researchers who are studying Alzheimer's disease (AD). Over the years, the Turken Research Award has funded twenty-four innovative AD projects including human brain mapping research, PET imaging in early diagnosis, study of cell death mechanisms, and research on dementia genetics.

We are delighted to announce that the Turken Review Committee has selected Dr. Florence Roussotte, Ph.D., to become the 25th Turken Research Award recipient. Dr. Roussotte received her Bachelor’s and Doctoral degrees in Neuroscience from UCLA, in 2007 and 2011. She conducted her postdoctoral research in the laboratory of Dr. Paul Thompson, Ph.D., himself the recipient of the Turken Research Award in 2003. To enhance the breadth of her multidisciplinary research, Dr. Roussotte also obtained an Associate of Science degree in Mathematics from Los Angeles City College in 2012. Her postdoctoral work was funded by a Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Institutional Training Grant (2012-2013) and by a prestigious individual fellowship from the A.P. Giannini Foundation for medical research (2013-2015). As a postdoctoral scholar, she also won the highly competitive UCLA Chancellor’s Award for exceptional Postdoctoral Research – she was one of 8 to receive the prize in 2013, selected among more than 1,000 registered postdoctoral scholars.

In 2014, she was one of only 3 UCLA post-doctoral fellows to receive the Brain Research Institute’s “Fine Science Tools” award to attend and present her work at the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) conference. Most recently, she was also chosen among thousands of promising junior brain scientists from around the world to become the recipient of a 2015 SfN Trainee Professional Development Award.

A focus of her research has been the investigation of common genetic factors conferring increased susceptibility to both drug abuse and Alzheimer's disease. Notably, she uncovered significant associations between a genetic variant in the delta opioid receptor gene, as well as two polymorphisms associated with dopaminergic transmission and imaging indices of neurodegeneration. She has also been investigating the genetic factors affecting the rate of ventricular expansion in the elderly. A significant contribution to this topic was her discovery that two of the three polymorphisms considered the strongest known genetic risk factors for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, affected ventricular expansion rate independently of dementia status in the elderly. Her reports were published in top scientific journals, including Alzheimer's & Dementia, the official journal of the Alzheimer's Association, and second highest-ranking clinical neurology journal in the world, and The Journal of Neuroscience.

Please join the UCLA-Easton Center, the Sam and Ida Turken Charitable Foundation, and the Alzheimer’s Association, California Southland Chapter, in congratulating Dr. Florence Roussotte as the 2015 recipient of the Turken Research Award!

A Special Thanks To:

Sam And Ida Turken Charitable Foundation, a UCLA supporter since 1991.