Mootaz Salman Awarded Inaugural ALBA-Roche Research Prize for Excellence in Neuroscience

Mootaz Salman Awarded Inaugural ALBA-Roche Research Prize for Excellence in Neuroscience

We are delighted to share that Mootaz Salman has been awarded the inaugural ALBA-Roche Research Prize for Excellence in Neuroscience in recognition of his exceptional contributions to neurodegenerative disease research and innovation. Supported by Roche and presented by the ALBA Network, this prestigious prize recognises outstanding research by mid-career scientists, whose work focuses on the nervous system and may improve our understanding of the causal mechanisms of brain diseases.


alba roche prize banner with Mootaz Salman's photo.


Prof. Carmen Sandi (EPFL, Switzerland), co-chair of the ALBA-Roche Prize Selection Committee, expressed, “Dr Salman emerged as the deserving recipient of this prize due to his transformative work in advancing our understanding of central nervous system (CNS) disorders. The aim of the prize is to promote inclusivity and recognition in the scientific community, fostering a more comprehensive understanding of neurological research and its potential impact on brain health.”


Prof. Gilles Laurent (Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, Germany), co-chair of the ALBA-Roche Prize Selection Committee added, “Dr Salman's exceptional journey from Mosul to Oxford, via Sheffield Hallam and Harvard universities, coupled with his remarkable achievements, serves as a beacon of inspiration for aspiring scientists, highlighting the power of perseverance, resilience, and scientific brilliance in shaping the future of neuroscience.” 


Mootaz's career has resulted in ground-breaking research that addresses the escalating rates of CNS injuries and associated dementia globally. His collaborative work introduces a pioneering method for targeting aquaporin-4 (AQP4) subcellular localization, challenging existing paradigms and offering promising drug repurposing avenues. This work, published in Cell with a follow-up study at BBA, has led to the preparation of the drug candidate for a phase I/II human clinical trial for traumatic brain injury and stroke. Investigations into the drug's effects during stroke reveal its efficacy in reducing cerebral edema, presenting a potential therapeutic pathway. His contributions to microfluidic engineering have validated a 3D organ-on-a-chip model for studying the blood-brain barrier, uncovering the transport mechanism of FDA-approved therapeutic antibodies, and paving the way for innovative neurodegenerative disease treatments in the future.


On receipt of his award, Mootaz said: “Receiving the Inaugural ALBA-Roche Research Prize for Excellence in Neuroscience is a tremendous honour, and I am grateful for all the trailblazing scientists who inspired me and led by example in my early years, as well as my lab members, all the amazing colleagues, and others who I have been privileged to teach, collaborate with, and hopefully inspire. I think we’re only beginning to glimpse what organ-on-a-chip and humanised models can achieve in the field of neurodegeneration and neuroscience in general, and so this award is a huge motivation for me and my team to keep pushing forward our work in this area.  Our work will hopefully provide new tools to understand lifelong brain health, describe the basis of blood-brain barrier (dys)function in the occurrence and development of dementia, and provide a platform to develop new treatments for neurodegeneration.”


The award will be presented to Dr Mootaz Salman at a dedicated ceremony during the FENS Forum 2024 in Vienna, Austria, on Thursday, 27 June 2024, from 17:15 to 17:30 CET.

Since April 2021, Oxford University's KAVLI Institute for Nanoscience Discovery is proudly serving as a hub for research groups from seven different departments spanning both the medical and physical sciences, including Salman Group from the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics.