January 26, 2011

Lifetime achievement award goes to epilepsy drug researcher Rene Levy

UW Health Sciences/UW Medicine

Professor and Chair Emeritus of Pharmaceutics Rene Levy has received the 2011 Arthur A. Ward, Jr. Achievement in Epilepsy Award from the Epilepsy Foundation Northwest. This award, named after the late UW neurological surgery professor, honors Levy for distinguished accomplishments in the field of epilepsy.

His goal for the database was to create a resource that responded to the need for more widespread knowledge about the risks of drug interactions. Today, researchers from pharmaceutical research companies throughout the world subscribe to it.

Rene Levy is being honored for his work on antiepileptic drugs.

Rene Levy is being honored for his work on antiepileptic drugs.

Levy joined the School of Pharmacy faculty in 1970 to initiate teaching in the areas of pharmacokinetics (the study of how the body absorbs, distributes, breaks down and eliminates drugs) and biopharmaceutics (the study of the chemical and physical properties of drugs and how they impact dosage and activity). He served as chair of pharmaceutics for 26 years. In addition, he held a UW appointment as professor of neurological surgery and co-founded the NW Regional Epilepsy Center with several colleagues, including Arthur Ward.

“Receiving the Arthur A. Ward, Jr. Award is especially meaningful in view of the unique impact that Dr. Ward had at the onset of my career,” said Levy. “While he was a world leader in the surgical treatment of epilepsy, he also had a deep appreciation for the importance of the pharmacological treatment of epilepsy. He attracted several scientists like myself who became full participants in his department.”

In 1989, Levy was named an Ambassador for Epilepsy by the International Bureau of Epilepsy. In 2007, he was named a fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Levy retired from his teaching role at the UW in 2009, but he remains active with the School of Pharmacy in a number of collaborative efforts.

The Epilepsy Foundation Northwest will present him with the Arthur A. Ward, Jr. Award on Saturday, Feb. 12, at the organization’s annual “Light the Flame” Dinner and Auction.

Levy is the ninth recipient of this annual award. Previous honorees have included U.S. Senator Patty Murray and prominent UW neurosurgeons Linda Ojemann and George Ojemann.

The Epilepsy Foundation Northwest is the principal advocate for the epilepsy community in Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Montana. The foundation’s president and CEO Brent Herrmann said of Levy: “He is well deserving of this award honoring his career commitment in development of prescription drug therapy for people living with epilepsy. People who have epilepsy today lead much more productive lives; and the work of other researchers and educators across the world has been made easier because Dr. Levy’s accomplishments.”