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The 2022 Bethlehem Griffiths Research Foundation medal has been awarded to Professor Elsdon Storey, a giant of neuroscience and an international research visionary and clinician, at a ceremony last week. The many dignitaries and colleagues present had one thing in common, a deep respect for a humble but deeply gifted man who led with integrity, compassion and intellectual rigour.

One-time student and now colleague, Professor Michael Fahey, who presented the medal to Professor Storey on behalf of the Bethlehem Griffiths Research Foundation (BGRF) said that Elsdon’s humour and willingness to listen were a key to his high-standing with patients, colleagues and students. ‘His generosity to educate and inspire has germinated innumerable clinical, academic and research careers’, he said.

As a young man, Elsdon duxed Scotch College Melbourne before graduating first in his medical class of 1978. He then progressed as a Rhodes Scholar obtaining a Doctor of Philosophy from Oxford University in 1986.

After a fortuitous route through other areas of medicine, we were lucky to welcome him back in Melbourne working as a joint clinician and researcher in neurogenetics (especially the hereditary ataxias) and behavioural neurology (particularly the dementias).

Professor Storey was appointed as the first Van Cleef Roet Professor of Neuroscience at Monash University in 1996 and was also Head of the Alfred Neurology Unit. He has been awarded many honours and held a large range of leadership positions including the Board of the BGRF, Neurology Co-Editor of the official journal of the Council of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Neurologists, and the Boards of the Brain Foundation and Neurosciences Victoria amongst others.

Accepting the award, Professor Storey gave a moving pre-recorded speech, that may prove to be yet another outstanding and selfless contribution to neuroscience. Suffering from the effects of Parkinson’s disease, Professor Storey shared invaluable observations about his decline that may just provide the impetus, motivation and insights to progress the treatment and understanding of this insidious condition.

In the 2022 Australia Day Honours, Professor Storey was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for "significant service to medicine in the field of neurology, and to professional associations"

The BGRF awards this medal and a $5,000 gift for an outstanding contribution to clinical research in progressive neurological disorders, stroke or palliative care. True to form, Professor Storey donated the prize money straight back to the Foundation. Past winners of the medal include the cream of Victoria’s research professors including an Maddocks, Claude Bernard, Frederick Mendelsohn, Colin Masters, Geoffrey Donnan, Sam Berkovic, Philip Beart, Stephen Davis, Linda Kristjanson, Trevor Kilpatrick, Ingrid Scheffer, Kathryn North, Roberto Cappai, Terence O’Brien, Professor Frank Vadja and Malcolm Horne.

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