The 2007 Scientific Service Award for outstanding contribution to the scientific mission of the organization went this year to Dr. Vahram (Harry) Haroutunian. The award was presented at a March 16 awards ceremony in Washington D.C.
In his professional life, Dr. Vahram (Harry) Haroutunian is a recognized leader in brain research and molecular biology of dementia and psychiatric illness. He is the director of the Alzheimers Disease and Schizophrenia Brain Bank and Behavior Pharmacology Laboratory and a professor of psychiatry and neurobiology at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine.
Despite his demanding professional life, Dr. Haroutunian nonetheless finds time for his role as chair of the Autism Tissue Program, or ATP, Tissue Advisory Board. Dr. Haroutunian joined the Tissue Advisory Board in 2000 and became board chair in 2004, committing to serve in this volunteer capacity until 2009. In his capacity as Tissue Advisory Board chair, he also serves on the ATP executive committee, another volunteer group that meets on a monthly basis to review and consult on ATP activities, policies, grants, and strategic planning. The ATP benefits from his broad interests and invaluable expertise.
In presenting the 2007 Scientific Service Award, Dr. Eric London, the co-founder of The Nationial Alliance for Autism Resarch and current Autism Speaks board member, called Dr. Haroutunian the “go to guy” for the ATP, commending him for the countless hours spent advising on brain tissue protocols, reviewing brain tissue requests, and consulting on issues as they arise. His dedication to the ATP is a major factor in its success.