During the 2017 SMA Researcher Meeting, we honored one of our 2017 conference champions, Dr. Victor Dubowitz. Dr. Dubowitz’s early contributions to the SMA field were seminal and have been critical to our understanding of SMA pathology and clinical presentation.

Dr. Dubowitz, originally from South Africa, is a neurologist, professor emeritus at the Imperial College, London. He has authored countless books and research papers about neurological disorders in children, including SMA. Upon completion of both a MD and PhD, he became the Chair of Pediatrics and Neonatal Medicine at Hammersmith. There he rapidly established an internationally recognized pediatric center for muscle disease with a primary emphasis on the clinical management of patients and their long-term follow-up. In particular, he worked to characterize the relationship between age of clinical onset in SMA and severity. This work led to the naming of what is now known as SMA type 2 as Dubowitz disease.

In addition to his clinical work, Dr. Dubowitz has made numerous additional contributions to the scientific community. Among them he established the multidisciplinary journal Neuromuscular Disorders of which he remains Editor-in-Chief and founded the World Muscle Society of which he is the standing president. The Dubowitz Neuromuscular Centre at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London bears his name.

To honor his lasting contributions to the field, Dr. Arthur Burghes (Ohio State University) presented Dr. Dubowitz with a plaque on behalf of Cure SMA. Dr. Burghes, who has developed many animal models for SMA, received his PhD under the oversight of Dr. Dubowitz. During the award, Dr. Burghes discussed the very significant and lasting influence Dr. Dubowitz had on his career personally, as well as his impact to the entire SMA community.