Dr. Story Landis has served as an informed, supportive and effective mentor throughout her career. The National Institutes of Health has recognized and celebrated this with a new award, named after Dr. Landis. The program announcement reads in part: “An extraordinary individual mentor, Dr. Landis generously provided her time and energy to support countless scientific investigators as they navigated the professional landscape of biomedical research.”
The press release from the Society says it all:
“10/9/2015 | For immediate release
Story Landis Receives Ralph W Gerard Prize in Neuroscience
WASHINGTON, DC — The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) will present its highest award, the Ralph W. Gerard Prize in Neuroscience, to Story Landis, PhD, former director of the National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke. The $25,000 prize will be awarded during Neuroscience 2015, SfN’s annual meeting and the world’s largest source of emerging news about brain science and health.
The prize honors outstanding scientists who have made significant contributions to neuroscience throughout their careers. The Gerard Prize was established in the name of Ralph W. Gerard, who was instrumental in establishing SfN and served as honorary president from 1970 until his death in 1974.
“Throughout her career, Dr. Landis has had an unsurpassed positive influence on neuroscience in the United States and beyond,” SfN President Steven Hyman said. “The Society is pleased to recognize her achievements as an excellent researcher and as director of NINDS. Her dedication to public service as well as her support for basic science and the push for better treatments has been instrumental to the field.”
Landis has had a remarkable impact on neuroscience through her research on how functionally appropriate synapses form during development and the role of neurotrophins in the peripheral nervous system. Her work remains the foundation of this research area.
Landis was instrumental in creating the Department of Neurosciences at Case Western University in Cleveland. Her vision and leadership transformed NINDS, where she served first as scientific director and then as director. In the role of director, Landis exercised her commitment to training and mentorship, identified and supported important science, and addressed the need to increase gender parity and diversity in science. Since her retirement, Landis has taken on positions on advisory boards and review panels.
The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) is an organization of nearly 40,000 basic scientists and clinicians who study the brain and nervous system.”
On October 15, 2015, Dr. Story Landis received the Leadership Award from the Hydrocephalus Association at their Annual Vision Dinner. The award recognized “her work building bridges between patients, advocacy groups, scientists and doctors, during her role as Director of NINDS.” As part of her commitment to improve cooperation between health advocacy groups and the extramural programs of NINDS, Dr. Landis had met with representatives of the Hydrocephalus Association in 2004. That led to workshops focused on the disorder, and more extramural funding. The Hydrocephalus Association became an active partner in the NINDS Non-profit Forum, building and enhancing the continuing cooperation.
On September 29, 2014, friends and colleagues of Dr. Story Landis joined in a celebration of her work and accomplishments in 19 years at the NIH. They filled the vaulting atrium of the Porter Research Building, a remarkable research facility that Story had labored to build. Colleagues expressed their genuine admiration and friendship in cheerful presentations from the podium or in video segments. Two Directors of the NIH praised her work, and all expect continued contributions from her.
Francis Collins, Director of the NIH, on July 31, 2014, announced Story’s impending retirement:
…I also recognize that we are losing one of the true giants at the NIH. Not only has Story led NINDS as its Director ably since 2003…she has had a profound impact on neuroscience across the agency and the broader research community…Story was also a founding co-chair of the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research, a highly successful effort to support trans-NIH activities in the brain sciences. In 2007, she was named Chair of the NIH Stem Cell Task Force…In 2013 she was integral to the launch of the BRAIN initiative. Very few can match her towering intellect, boundless energy, commitment to biomedical research, and scientific expertise.
On September 18, 2014, Senator Tom Harkin entered “Tribute to Dr. Story Landis” in the Congressional Record. He emphasized her courage, ability to bridge gaps, and her passion:
Dr. Landis’s career has stimulated tremendous progress in the field of neuroscience and inspired legions of young scientists to follow in her path…We honor Dr. Story Landis today for her invaluable leadership of NINDS, and for her great service to the people of the United States.