ORCA Award recipient Dr. Gendelman on his work and motivation

by Elizabeth Kumru, UNMC public relations | April 24, 2012

Howard Gendelman, M.D., chairman of the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience and Larson Professor of internal medicine and infectious diseases, was named the recipient of the University of Nebraska's Outstanding Research and Creative Activity (ORCA) Award this year.

Watch a video about Dr. Gendelman.
Dr. Gendelman is one of two recipients of the university-wide research award that recognizes individual faculty members for outstanding research or creative activity of national or international significance.

After Dr. Gendelman arrived at UNMC in 1993, he quickly built a successful laboratory focused on the neurologic complications of HIV/AIDS.

According to his nominator, Jennifer Larsen, M.D., vice chancellor for research, Dr. Gendelman developed the theory that the interplay between the immune system and the brain profoundly influences nerve cell injury following viral infection or during neurodegenerative processes and can be reversed for therapeutic gain. Though the theory wasn't immediately embraced -- time has proven it valid.

Below, Dr. Gendelman reveals more about the man behind the research.

What motivates you in your research?

Changing the way we think of disease and how to conquer it is a bigger-than-life goal. The potential that our work has in improving the health of the many is a real passion. More than all else, however, is the research journey itself that is transforming, not solely for the investigation, but for ourselves. All scientists understand the excitement of the "research" chase to go in directions where others have not gone before. It's been my honor to play a small role in fashioning what this medical center is today and to positively influence our next generation of scientists and physicians.

What is your life goal?

Be happy, but never content. Maintain the fire and excitement of science and discovery and make it contagious.

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