60th year of pioneering support for science

Now in its 60th year, the Dr. Nejat F. Eczacıbaşı Medical Awards announced the winners of its Medical Award of Honor, Medical Science Award, Medical Incentive Award, Medical Research Award, and Medical Student Project Award at a ceremony in Istanbul on 8 October.

On the 60th anniversary of the Dr. Nejat F. Eczacıbaşı Awards, the Eczacıbaşı Medical Award of Honor was presented to Prof. Dr. Marsel Mesulam, for his outstanding contributions to medical science and tremendous support of academicians and scientific events in Turkey. A graduate of Robert College and Harvard Medical School, Professor Mesulam is recognized worldwide as one of the leading authorities on behavioral neurology and the biology of dementia, with ground-breaking findings in both fields. Professor Mesulam discovered and defined the independent form of dementia known as primary progressive aphasia syndrome, commonly called "Mesulam disease" in his honor. Mesulam is pursuing his academic research at the Faculty of Medicine of Northwestern University in Chicago, where he is Director of the Mesulam Center for Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease and Chief of the Behavioral Neurology Unit in the Department of Neurology.

The Dr. Nejat F. Eczacıbaşı Medical Awards Jury gave the 2019 Medical Science Award to Prof. Dr. Ahmet Höke for his peripheral neuropathy research focused on axon degeneration, Schwann cells in the peripheral nervous system, and the regeneration of peripheral nerves. The jury selected Assoc. Prof. Dr. Uğur Canpolat for the Medical Incentive Award, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ceyda Açılan Ayhan for the Medical Research Award, and Sena Alptekin for the Medical Student Project Award.

Speaking at the award ceremony on 8 October, 2019, Eczacıbaşı Group Chairman Bülent Eczacıbaşı reiterated the Group's confidence in Turkey's future and said, "Our industrial initiatives and our social initiatives are like two branches that support each other as the tree reaches further into the sky. Today, all of us continue to be inspired by the values of our Group's founder, Dr. Nejat F. Eczacıbaşı, who believed that success must be measured by the value it creates for society."
Bülent Eczacıbaşı underlined the importance of communication and collaboration between public bodies, industry, universities, patients and other stakeholders to ensure the smooth provision of health services, greater welfare and a higher quality of living. He continued, "If the generation who founded Turkey's Republic, among them Nejat F. Eczacıbaşı, were here today, they would be delighted to see that we continue to look for shared solutions to shared problems. One of the main attributes of the founding generation was the importance they gave to ensuring that Turkey had a scientific and educational system that met the needs of the era. I earnestly believe that maintaining this priority today is also one of our shared responsibilities... Because the future of our country will undoubtedly be determined by our level of education and the value we create with science. How happy we are to have scientists like you who are working towards this goal."

Prof. Dr. Turgay Dalkara, President of the Dr. Nejat F. Eczacıbaşı Medical Awards Jury, also spoke at the ceremony. "In contrast to several hundred years ago," he said, "we have no doubt today about the need for science and its link to success. However, we are concerned about the anti-science movement that is taking hold around the world and which unfortunately is being carried out under the guise of science itself." Prof. Dalkara added that the Medical Awards not only recognized and honored the achievements of Turkey's scientists, they also represented an opportunity to thank scientists for their patience and hard work along the long and difficult path between ideas and their transformation into scientific knowledge.
Prof. Dr. Ahmet Höke, a graduate of Hacettepe University's Faculty of Medicine and recipient of the Eczacıbaşı Medical Science Award, is Director of the Neuromuscular Division at John Hopkins Medicine, a board member of the American Neurological Association and Peripheral Nerve Society, and Vice President of the Toxic Neuropathy Consortium. 
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Uğur Canpolat, recipient of the Medical Incentive Award, is a member of the Department of Cardiology of Hacettepe University's Faculty of Medicine, and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ceyda Açılan Ayhan, recipient of the Medical Research Award, is a member of Koç University's School of Medicine. Sena Alptekin, recipient of the Medical Student Project Award, graduated from the Faculty of Medicine at Dokuz Eylül University and is currently doing an internship at Heidelberg University.

60 years of “Contributing to scientific research and rewarding success"
Dr. Nejat F. Eczacıbaşı established the awards and research grants in 1959 with the support of prominent members of Turkey’s medical faculties, namely Ord. Prof. Dr. Ekrem Şerif Egeli, Ord. Prof. Dr. Arif İsmet Çetingil, Ord. Prof. Dr. Muhiddin Erel, Prof. Dr. Reşat Garan, Prof. Dr. Sabih Oktay, Prof. Dr. Behiç Onul, Prof. Dr. Zafer Paykoç, and Prof. Dr. Necmeddin Polvan, in order to contribute to the development of the medical and pharmaceutical sciences in Turkey.  

The 2019 Dr. Nejat F. Eczacıbaşı Medical Awards Jury comprises Prof. Dr. Turgay Dalkara, jury president, and Prof. Dr. Murat Akova, Prof. Dr. Şermin Genç, Prof. Dr. Ahmet Gül, Prof. Dr. Arzum Erdem Gürsan, Prof. Dr. Hakan S. Orer and Prof. Dr. Lale Tokgözoğlu.
In 2002, the Dr. Nejat F. Eczacıbaşı Medical Awards Fund decided to honor Turkish physicians who were globally recognized for their contributions to the profession with a special award, the Eczacıbaşı Medical Award of Honor. The first of these awards was presented to Prof. Dr. Münci Kalayoğlu and the second to Prof. Dr. Olcay Neyzi. Prof. Dr. Marsel Mesulam is the third scientist to receive this distinction.
Before 2002, the Dr. Nejat F. Eczacıbaşı Medical Awards occasionally presented a "Republican Era Medical Award". This award was presented to Ord. Prof. Dr. Hulusi Behçet, Dr. Refik Saydam, Ord. Prof. Dr. Tevfik Sağlam, Ord. Prof. Dr. Mazhar Osman Uzman and Ord. Prof. Dr. Akil Muhtar Özden in 1982, to Prof. Dr. Muzaffer Aksoy in 1988, and Prof. Dr. Gazi Yaşargil in 1992.