J. Timothy Greenamyre Receives the 2024 SOT Honorary Membership Award in Recognition of His Paradigm-Shifting Research

By Marie Fortin posted 02-15-2024 13:08


SOT recognizes nonmembers who embody outstanding and sustained achievements in the field of toxicology and/or allied disciplines with Honorary membership.

SOT is pleased to bestow Honorary membership to J. Timothy (Tim) Greenamyre, MD, PhD, in recognition of his paradigm-shifting research, developing the rotenone model of Parkinson’s disease, which provided the first proof-of-concept that systemic mitochondrial impairment could cause highly selective neurodegeneration. In addition to his research that has had profound impacts on the field of neurotoxicology, Dr. Greenamyre’s mentorship and service to the scientific community has helped advance the science and increase the impact of toxicology.

Dr. Greenamyre received his MD and PhD in neuroscience from the University of Michigan in 1986 and has become an internationally recognized researcher into the causes and novel treatments of neurodegenerative diseases. Conducting research as an assistant and associate professor at the University of Rochester and Emory University, Dr. Greenamyre arrived at the University of Pittsburgh in 2005, where he is currently the Love Family Professor and Vice-Chair of Neurology. In addition to his research, he also is the Chief, Movement Disorders Division and Director, Pittsburgh Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases.

Dr. Greenamyre’s rotenone model of Parkinson’s disease resulted in a paradigm shift, where prior neurotoxicology studies primarily focused on selective toxicant accumulation in dopaminergic neurons as a primary mechanism of toxicity. The rotenone model showed that a toxin capable of accumulating in virtually all cells could produce selective dopaminergic neurotoxicity due to inherent dopaminergic neurobiology (sensitivity to mitochondrial oxidative stress). Dr. Greenamyre’s work with the rotenone and many other models has resulted in extensive advances in the understanding of the primary biochemical pathways involved in the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s and other neurological diseases. Moreover, his work has prompted epidemiological studies, which have translationally linked basic and clinical studies resulting in the identification of possible biomarkers of disease/progression and potential new therapeutic pathways.

As a mentor, Dr. Greenamyre has trained many scientists who have gone on to advance the field of neurotoxicology, providing insight to trainees that has in-turn fueled successful research careers in toxicology. As an example, 3 of his trainees have received an NIEHS K99 Grant, covering work important to the field of neurotoxicology, and 6 others have received K08 awards. Dr. Greenamyre was the Editor-in-Chief for Neurobiology of Disease for 17 years and is currently a Reviewing Editor for Science Translational Medicine. His research has been recognized by the Langston Award from the Michael J. Fox Foundation, and the Jacob Hooisma Keynote Lecture presented to the International Neurotoxicology Association and most recently, by the Robert A. Pritzker Prize for Leadership in Parkinson’s Research. He is a member of the NIEHS National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council (NAEHSC).

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog about the awardee(s) is based on the nomination materials provided. This citation is being shared under the Award Committee Chair’s name as part of their official duties and should not be interpreted as their personal or professional opinions.