April 01, 2009

Carl Faingold named outstanding scholar

by Tim Crosby

Carl Faingold
CARBONDALE -- A faculty member from the School of Medicine is this year’s outstanding scholar at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Carl Faingold, professor of pharmacology and neurology, will receive a cash award, professional development funds, a certificate, a watch provided by the SIU Alumni Association and a special parking space for one year. He also will receive the title “distinguished scholar.”

Faingold and others receiving the honors will attend the Excellence Through Commitment Awards Ceremony, hosted by Chancellor Samuel Goldman, at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 21 at the Student Center.

A faculty member of the SIU School of Medicine for the better part of the last four decades and chair of the Department of Pharmacology since 1995, Faingold is a leading researcher, writing almost 100 peer-reviewed articles and 23 book chapters and reviews. He gives frequent lectures by invitation and broke new ground with his recent work on sudden death in epilepsy, said Linda A. Toth, associate dean of research and faculty affairs in the School of Medicine, and a professor in the Department of Pharmacology.

“This sustained productivity and his reputation as an authority on seizure mechanisms … lead me to make this nomination,” Toth wrote.

Faingold has been a fountain of research funding, obtaining 10 national grants -- including seven from the National Institutes of Health totaling 25 years of funding -- during his career. His work was cited more than 100 times a year by other researchers during the last five years.

Faingold’s research helped establish the importance of neural networks in epileptic disorders. Researchers routinely invite him to write or edit book chapters, give presentations or chair conferences on this subject. The journal “Science” most recently highlighted his work in its July 4 edition.

“Dr. Faingold is an outstanding scientist and is truly a leader in the field both on a national and international level,” wrote Dr. Hal Blumenfeld, director of medical studies and associate professor in the departments of neurology and neurobiology at Yale University School of Medicine, who got to know Faingold through his published research. Blumenfeld was just one of several leading researchers at top universities and schools who recommended Faingold for the honor. “(Faingold’s) scientific work on the pharmacology and physiology of cortical-subcortical brain networks in epilepsy is superb, leading to many highly cited publications, true ‘citation classics’ which have led the field in terms of both methods and scientific contributions.”

Faingold also pioneered ways to inhibit neurotransmitter function in the inferior colliculus, which makes up part of the brain’s auditory pathway. Other researchers in this area have cited this early 1990s study more than 250 times.

Faingold also studied alcoholism, electrical stimulation mechanisms in the brain and pedagogical approaches in medicine. He co-edited a pharmacology textbook set for release this year and recently chaired a symposium on Education in Pharmacology at the American Medical School Pharmacology Chairman’s annual meeting, where he also made a presentation.

Faingold earned his Bachelor of Science degree in pharmacy in 1965 at the University of Illinois Chicago. He earned his doctorate in pharmacology in 1970 at Northwestern University.

He is a member of the American Association for Advancement of Science, the American College of Clinical Pharmacology, the American Epilepsy Society, the New York Academy of Sciences, Sigma Xi, Society of Neuroscience and other professional groups.