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Dr. David Julius Receives the 2023 John J. Bonica Award

Aug 15, 2023, 08:00 AM by ASRA Pain Medicine


Dr. David Julius

Dr. David Julius

Copyright: BBVA Foundation
Frontiers of Knowledge Awards

David Julius, PhD, who received the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2021, has been selected to receive ASRA Pain Medicine’s 2023 John J. Bonica Award. He will present the annual lecture on Saturday, November 11, in conjunction with the 22nd Annual Pain Medicine Meeting in New Orleans, LA.

Dr. Julius is professor and chair in the department of physiology at the University of California, San Francisco, where he has worked since completing his postdoctoral fellowship at Columbia University in New York in 1990. He received his undergraduate degree at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his graduate degree at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the recipient of numerous impressive awards and honors, including the 2010 Shaw Prize in Life Sciences and Medicine and the 2020 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences. He shared the Nobel Prize with Ardem Patapoutian, PhD, in 2021 “for their discoveries of receptors for temperature and touch,” according to the Nobel Prize organization.

Beginning with a curiosity about capsaicin, which is the natural chemical that makes peppers “hot,” Dr. Julius’s research led to discoveries about how this and other compounds activate sensory nerve fibers. This led to studies of how sensory reactions can be employed in treating conditions like cancer, infection, or injury. Such discoveries are being channeled into the development of novel analgesics.

Throughout my career, I have been motivated by the idea that discoveries in basic research drive transformative advances in medicine and health care. In recent years, the field of pain research has taken on new dimensions and attracted young talent with fresh ideas and a determination to elucidate basic mechanisms underlying acute and chronic pain,” said Julius.

Dr. Julius will speak on “Natural Products as Probes of the Pain Pathway: A Mechanistic Approach to Discovering New Therapeutic Targets” during the Excellence in ASRA Pain Medicine Awards and Recognition session.

"I am pleased to join this august list of colleagues who have dedicated themselves to the hope of helping those who suffer from chronic pain." - Dr. David Julius

Dr. Julius is currently on the Board of Trustees for Howard Hughes Medical Institute and has served as an editorial board member for Neuron, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and Annual Review of Physiology, where he served as editor from 2007 to 2018. He has authored more than 120 scientific articles over his remarkable career.

Dr. Bonica championed the collaboration of multidisciplinary specialists in the evaluation and treatment of patients with pain. Awardees embody the ideals of John Bonica and his passion for pain medicine as manifested through their contributions to research, teaching, and clinical practice.

The John Bonica Award has, for over 30 years, recognized contributions from scientists and clinicians who have made significant contributions to pain research while mentoring new generations of investigators. I am pleased to join this august list of colleagues who have dedicated themselves to these efforts with the hope of helping those who suffer from chronic pain,” Julius said.

Nominations for the John J. Bonica Award are accepted each spring for the subsequent year.

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