Aug 21, 2014

Karen Gale, PhD

2014: *AES Extraordinary Contributions Award & Research Initiative Fund Award Recipient

Dr. Gale received the AES Extraordinary Contributions award posthumously

In Memoriam

The AES community was saddened by the recent passing of, Karen Gale, Ph.D., Professor in the Department of Pharmacology & Physiology at Georgetown University.  During her more than 35 years at Georgetown, Dr. Gale left an indelible mark as a researcher, educator and stalwart advocate for faculty, students and staff.

Dr. Gale was a widely recognized expert in seizure circuitry, and the mechanisms of seizure‐induced brain damage and neuroprotection. She was an NIH‐funded researcher for more than 20 years, and the founding director of Georgetown’s Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience (IPN) that has 50 faculty members from 11 departments campus‐wide.   

Prior to her recent passing, the AES Research Recognition Awards Committee and the AES Board had selected Dr. Gale to receive the AES Extraordinary Contributions award. The award will be formally presented to her posthumously during the AES meeting. The AES Award is designated for those who have made extraordinary contributions across multiple fronts, including science, education, leadership, and advocacy.  

AES selected Dr. Gale for her pioneering research on the critical roles of subcortical structures, including the substantia nigra, and on seizure control and propagation that has been seminal in shaping the understanding about the distributed nature of seizures and how they might be controlled, and her recent work on co‐morbidities of epilepsy including deleterious effects of anti‐epileptic compounds on neural development.

“We are humbled by the breadth and depth of Karen’s contributions, her commitment to the development of others, and her service to the American Epilepsy Society and the greater epilepsy community,” said Amy Brooks‐Kayal, M.D. first vice president. AES also recognizes Dr. Gale’s tireless commitment to the development of early career investigators and women and minority scientists in our community through mentorship and advocacy. Through these efforts she  has set an example for all to emulate.

“Karen has been a tireless advocate and mentor of both women and minorities in our society, in addition to being an outstanding scientist who has made seminal contributions,” said Karen Wilcox, Ph.D., AES Board member.  

Dr. Gale is survived by her husband, Dr. Charles Underhill, daughters Tina and Ali Underhill and her brother, Dr. Howard Gale. Her family will accept the AES award on her behalf.