Dr. George Karpati
Dr. George Karpati was one of Canada’s pre-eminent researchers in the field of muscular dystrophy. Dr. Karpati was recognized internationally as one of the leading experts on the diagnosis and treatment of neuromuscular disorders, including muscular dystrophy. He was among the first to recognize the importance of dystrophin in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), and its absence in the muscles of those with the disease.
Born in Hungary, Dr. Karpati was a Holocaust survivor who emigrated to Canada in 1957. He received an M.D. from Dalhousie University in 1960 and spent 30 years in clinical practice, research and teaching in neurology at the Montreal Neurological Institute. He was the Izaak Killam Chair and Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery at McGill University.
Dr. Karpati received widespread recognition for his accomplishments. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (1999), an Officer of the Order of Canada (2001), a Chevalier de l’Ordre nationale du Québec (2005) and a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. He is also the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award in Neuromuscular Research and Clinics from Muscular Dystrophy Canada.
Dr. Karpati passed away in 2009.
At the time of his death, Dr. Karpati was pursuing two possibilities for treating muscular dystrophy. The first was to provide a healthy dystrophin gene to those who lack it, through gene therapy. The second focused on increasing the expression of another gene, called utrophin, that is a close relative of dystrophin. Utrophin is present in people with DMD and research has shown that increasing its expression can help treat the disease. His colleagues will continue with this work, extending his legacy and determination to find a cure for DMD.
In 2010, the Dr. David Green Researcher of the Year award, which Dr. Karpati was awarded in 2000-2001, was renamed in his honour to the Dr. George Karpati Award for Researcher of the Year. Below is the list of [previous honourees:
2012-2013 Dr. Jean Mah
2011-2012 Le Groupe de recherché interdisciplinaire sur les maladies neuromusculaires (GRIMN)
2010-2011 Dr. Lawrence Korngut