Paul Sanberg (BSc ’76) is the senior vice-president for research, innovation and knowledge enterprise at the University of South Florida and president of the National Academy of Inventors.
On Nov. 20, Sanberg is being honoured at the Bryden Alumni Awards in the category of Outstanding Achievement for his instrumental work understanding and developing new pharmaceutical and cellular therapeutics for stroke, ALS and Tourette syndrome as well as Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s diseases. He trained at York University and has held faculty appointments at the University of Cincinnati and Brown University, among others.
“I view myself as an academic and a scientist and inventor,” Sanberg said. “As a kid, I used to look at different kinds of ways of doing things. It’s about exploring what’s out there and discovering new things. You’ve got to be driven and you have to have capacity to take in a lot of information, and to give. And to come full circle, and to be celebrated, and to be honoured by my alma mater – it’s just amazing.”
Sanberg has experience as a founder and director of a number of companies involved in cell therapy for degenerative disorders. He is listed as an inventor on 160 worldwide patents, has authored more than 660 articles and 14 books, and has accumulated over 32,000 citations. Sanberg has served on numerous scientific advisory boards, including the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health, as well as on editorial boards for more than 30 scientific journals. He is currently co-editor-in-chief of Technology and Innovation: Journal of the National Academy of Inventors. Additionally, he has served as president of a number of professional societies, including the American Society for Neural Transplantation and Repair, the Cell Transplant Society and the International Behavioral Neuroscience Society.
Sanberg’s research involves discovering innovative ways to repair the damaged brain, and he helped lead the team that demonstrated the use of umbilical cord blood-derived cells for neurological disease.
A proud alumnus, he cites York as being instrumental to his success: “York was a fundamental time in my life. I had such great friends there and great opportunities. The diversity was amazing, and I felt at home there. I felt York’s motto clearly says how I do things. You need to try the way to go somewhere, and don’t be afraid of failure. Don’t be afraid to try. If it fails you, learn another thing, and you might learn some way to do it better.”
Now in its 18th year, the Bryden Alumni Awards celebrate outstanding York University alumni who have achieved the extraordinary and made remarkable contributions in their fields and communities and to the University. Learn more about our 2018 Bryden Award recipients and purchase tickets or corporate tables for this year’s event at yorku.ca/Bryden2018.