The Khalid Iqbal Lifetime Achievement Award USA is presented to Professor Christine Van Broeckhoven in recognition of a distinguished career in Alzheimer’s disease research.
The Khalid Iqbal Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes researchers who have made significant, fundamental contributions to Alzheimer’s research. The awardees have demonstrated a lasting impact on the field and a lifetime commitment in the fight against Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
Christine Van Broeckhoven (VIB-UAntwerp Center for Molecular neurology) received the award on July 27 during the virtual Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2020. Khalid Iqbal is one of the three founders of the Alzheimer’s Association annual conference and served in a leadership role from the conference's first iteration in 1988.
Christine Van Broeckhoven started her research in the neurogenetics of neurodegenerative brain diseases in 1983 at the University of Antwerp. From the start, she focused her research on Alzheimer’s disease and made several major contributions including pinpointing the amyloid precursor protein (APP) as a key protein in the Alzheimer’s disease process. As a pioneer in the field, she has been continuously pushing the limits and advancing the frontline of science by combining multidisciplinary genetic, molecular and biological approaches as well as clinical neurology. Over time, she has identified many novel genes involved in Alzheimer’s and Frontotemporal dementia, which are key to our understanding of different mechanisms determining the onset and progression of disease, eventually leading to novel biomarkers and approaches to therapy development.
Her pioneering work to unravel the genetic etiology of neurodegenerative dementia received numerous and prestigious awards e.g. the American Potamkin Prize (1993), the Belgian Excellence prize Joseph Maisin (1995), the American Zenith Award by the Alzheimer Association USA (2005), the International Women in Science Award for Europe (2006), the European Inventor Award for Research (2011) and the American award for Medical Research of the MetLife Foundation (2012).
Among the scientists she mentored, many became professor or other esteemed and up-and-coming researchers in the field of Alzheimer’s disease research.
During her career, she has been engaged in science communication to the general public about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. For her societal engagement, she received the Belgian title of Grand Officer in the Order of Leopold (2006) and French Order of Chevalier dans La Légion d’Honneur (2008). The community honored her by a Portrait Stamp in the honorary series ‘This is Belgium’ (2004), and other prizes. She received an honorary doctorate from the University of Hasselt, Belgium (2014), for her research and societal engagement. And recently, she received the Lifetime Achievement award for Science Communication from the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts (2020), for her years of work as a top global expert who has found a way to improve her research through contact with patients, caretakers, citizens and politicians.