#ThanksRESEARCH GALA - May 21, 2020 @ 6pm, The laurel place
911 N. 145th Street, Seattle Wa 98133

NWABR’s annual gala is both a fundraiser and a celebration of biomedical research. 

The purpose of the fundraiser is to raise the money needed to support NWABR’s programs that engage students and community members with biomedical research.  This outreach work is key to creating a generation of supporters, advocates and practitioners in biomedical research. 

The celebration component of the evening is aimed at acknowledging the progress being made in biomedical research in the Pacific Northwest. 

We Will Present:

  • The Alvin J. Thompson Award: this Award reflects the recipients high standing in the life science community with engagement in cutting edge research alongside a commitment to ethical research practices and the advancement of public trust in research. 
  • The Buster and Nancy D. Alvord Award: this Award reflects the recipients' philanthropic contributions to the Northwest alongside their role as an advocate, educator, or donor in support of the local biomedical research community.  
  • Honoring a select group of people who have provided exceptional service to NWABR.  

If you are interested in attending the 2019 NWABR Gala then please contact Ken Gordon (206 957 3337).

Proceeds from the gala support NWABR's educational work, engagement with students and the public, in support of NWABR's mission to promote the public's trust in biomedical research and its ethical conduct.

At the May 24, 2019 Gala NWABR made the following Awards:

The Alvin J. Thompson Award: The 2019 Alvin J. Thompson Award was awarded to the Allen Institute.  The Allen Institute was founded Paul G. Allen, co-founder of Microsoft and visionary philanthropist, just over 15 years ago in Seattle. Originating as the Allen Institute for Brain Science, today the overarching Allen Institute has grown to four divisions, including the Allen Institute for Brain Science, Allen Institute for Cell Science, Allen Institute for Immunology, and The Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group.  The Institute has three core principles that drive its unique approach to science. These are:

Team Science 

Teams at the Allen Institute are composed of scientists, engineers, mathematicians, physicists and computational scientists—each bringing a new perspective to the scientific challenges they face. They operate on open communication, sharing ideas in progress, in programs and working groups that cross disciplines and departments. This continual collaboration ensures that they are leveraging their diverse experience and insight to tackle the world’s most challenging scientific questions.

Big Science

Much of the work at the Allen Institute is focused on generating big data sets. The ambitious projects undertaken yield rich, robust data that give users the power to explore and find common threads in a way that cannot be done on a smaller scale. But there is no point in collecting enormous amounts of data without ways to share, investigate and analyze it. The Allen Institute embrace “big science” as a community movement, integrating powerful technology into each phase of their data collection to make sure that data sets can be readily explored. This data is big not only in scope, but also in its utility to the global scientific community.

Open Science

The Allen Institute cannot do its brand of big science without the spirit of openness. The scientists share data, tools and knowledge with the scientific community through venues like the Allen Brain Atlas data portal and the Allen Cell Explorer data portal as soon as it is useful. Open science is a core principle of the Allen Institute’s identity and an integral part of their goal to accelerate the pace of science worldwide.

The Buster and Nancy D. Alvord Award.  The 2019 Buster and Nancy D. Alvord Award was awarded to Dr. Steven Gilbert.  Steven was a former Board Member of NWABR from 2000 to 2009, president of the board 2003-2005 and active member of the NWABR speakers’ bureau regarding animals and research. He is a former owner and President of Biosupport, LTD., which he sold to SNBL USA Ltd.  These firms were involved in pre-clinical contract research, toxicology, and specialized model development.  He is currently Director and Founder of the Institute of Neurotoxicology and Neurological Disorders. as well as an Affiliate Professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Washington.  Dr. Gilbert’s research has focused on neurobehavioral effects of low-level exposure to lead and mercury on the developing nervous system. His book, A Small Dose of Toxicology- The Health Effects of Common Chemicals was published in 2004 which is now in its free 2nd edition. Most recently he has started a wiki based web site Toxipedia with the mission of connecting science and people.

Nearly two decades ago Steve started to become aware of the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. About 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease each year. What causes the disease is unclear. Researchers have investigated exposures to pesticides, manganese and other potential environmental triggers. Less common are cases that can be linked to genetic mutations. 

In the disease, the dopamine-producing cells die off in a region of the brain called the substantia nigra. Symptoms – twitching of limbs, slowness of movement, stiffness, impaired balance – grow worse with time.  Eventually the disease leads to speech problems and sometimes dementia. A dual drug regimen of carbidopa and levodopa is typically prescribed; they supply dopamine to the brain and other parts of the body, but come with side effects, too. 

Steve, being a toxicologist, opted against medication. Instead, he opted for his “drug of choice” which was exercise, particularly cycling.  As the disease progressed Steve eventually lost the ability to ride his bicycle, as walking and talking became more difficult.  This brilliant man was becoming trapped in his own mind.  He described the joys of life being stripped away.  Steve chose to have a Deep Brain Stimulation device implanted in his brain as a way to manage the symptoms of this disease.  Steve was presented the Buster and Nancy D. Alvord Award for being an amazing scientist who has devoted your life to the study pf toxicology and for his most recent incredibly personal journey to promote awareness of DBS as a treatment for the symptoms of Parkinson’s.

NWABR Distinguished Service Awards

NWABR Distinguished Service Awards are giving to NWABR staff and Board members in honor of their personal contributions to the work of NWABR.  These Awards were instigated in 2016 and the  recipients are:


Lee Schoentrup

James Riddle 

Lynn Rose

Judy Fenyk-Melody


William Dernell

Jennifer Hansberry

Royce Morrison

Stephen Rosenfeld


William (Bill) Dale

Todd Myers

Marcia Johnson-Witter and Max Witter on behalf of the Dean Witter Foundation


Cami Gearhart

Cheryl Weaver

Ben Wilfond



Previous Gala Awardees


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