Paul Tesar receives the Case Medal for Excellence in Health Science Innovation

Paul Tesar wearing the Case Medal

Paul Tesar (CWR '03), PhD, the Dr. Donald and Ruth Weber Goodman Professor of Innovative Therapeutics, was awarded the school's highest honor—the Case Medal for Excellence in Health Science Innovation—during the School of Medicine State of the School presentation on Dec. 6. 

"Paul's commitment to advancing knowledge and fostering the next generation of scientists underscores his well-deserved recognition as the recipient of the Case Medal for Excellence in Health and Science Innovation," said Stan Gerson, MD, dean of the School of Medicine. "The brilliance he brings to the study of neurodegenerative diseases is just one of the many reasons he is so well deserving of this award." 

Tesar has been at the forefront of unraveling the complexities of glial cell dysfunction and its crucial role in human neurological diseases. Research led by his team in the Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences has not only deepened an understanding of these cells but also led to groundbreaking advancements in treatments. 

Among their notable achievements are the discovery of two novel classes of medicines—a remyelination therapy for multiple sclerosis, which the university licensed to Convelo Therapeutics, and an antisense oligonucleotide therapy for Pelizaeus Merzbacher disease, licensed to Ionis Pharmaceuticals and slated for clinical trials early next year.

And now, with a new Institute of Glial Science established in November, Tesar and his team of researchers are poised to advance this research further. 

Tesar received his undergraduate degree summa cum laude from Case Western Reserve University, where he majored in biology. He furthered his academic career, earning a PhD from the University of Oxford on a National Institutes of Health scholarship. Under the mentorship of Professor Sir Richard Gardner (Oxford) and Dr. Ron McKay (NIH), Tesar's seminal discoveries, including paradigm-shifting research on pluripotent epiblast stem cells, published in Nature in 2007, garnered widespread acclaim, including the Beddington Medal and the Harold M. Weintraub Award. 

Joining the CWRU School of Medicine faculty in 2010 as a Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation Scholar, Tesar holds the Dr. Donald and Ruth Weber Goodman Professorship in Innovative Therapeutics within the Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences. 

Tesar's scientific career has earned him many accolades, including recognition as a Robertson Investigator of the New York Stem Cell Foundation, the International Society for Stem Cell Research Outstanding Young Investigator Award and the New York Stem Foundation–Robertson Stem Cell Prize. He was recently elected as a senior member to the National Academy of Inventors. Additionally, he has been honored locally, named one of Crain's Cleveland Business' "Forty Under 40" and recognized as a "HomeGrown Hero" in Academic Research by Plain Dealer.

Tesar is recognized for his dedication to mentorship. With over 50 trainees, more than half of whom are women and nearly 20% from underrepresented groups in medicine, Tesar has received numerous awards for mentoring, including the John S. Diekhoff Award for Distinguished Graduate Student Mentoring, the J. Bruce Jackson MD award for Excellence in Undergraduate Mentoring and the 2021 NINDS Landis Award for Outstanding Mentorship.