Neuroscientist Stephen G. Waxman, M.D., Ph.D., whose research focuses on new therapeutic strategies to restore functions such as sensation and the ability to walk after spinal cord, nerve, and brain injuries, has received the William S. Middleton Award, the highest scientific honor of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

The award was established in 1960 to honor William S. Middleton, M.D., a distinguished educator, physician–scientist, and chief medical director at the VA from 1955 to 1963.

In ceremonies that included a reception at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on April 29, Waxman, chair of neurology and the Bridget Marie Flaherty Professor of Neurology, Neurobiology, and Pharmacology, received the award for his work on spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, and painful nerve disorders.

Waxman has identified key molecules that are responsible for chronic pain after nerve and spinal cord injury, and his research group was the first to show molecular changes within nerve cells that permit remissions—recovery of previously lost functions such as vision and motor control—in multiple sclerosis.

Waxman directs the Neuroscience and Regeneration Research Center (NRRC), a collaboration of Yale University, the VA, the Paralyzed Veterans of America, and the United Spinal Association. The NRRC is located at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System in West Haven, Conn. He is also visiting professor and co-director of the Yale-London Collaboration on Nervous System Injury at University College London.

“Each month we move closer to cures for spinal cord injury, nerve injury, and multiple sclerosis,” Waxman says. “I am confident that, ultimately, we will conquer these disorders.”