Susan and David Axelrod join Leaders in Innovation

Frustrated with the inability to protect her child from the devastation of uncontrollable seizures and the side effects of medications, Susan Axelrod joined forces with two other concerned parents to spearhead the search for a cure for epilepsy. Axelrod became the Founding Chair of Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE), and along with her husband David Axelrod has raised more than $43 million to fund research grants around the world.

On November 19, 2018, Susan and David Axelrod will join scientists, researchers and community members for the 2018 Leaders in Innovation Dinner hosted by Western University’s Robarts Research Institute. This year’s dinner celebrates research excellence in the field of epilepsy.

Susan Axelrod continues to act as the founding chair of CURE and her commitment to the health of epilepsy patients has earned her and the organization numerous awards. David Axelrod served as senior advisor to President Barack Obama during his historic campaign for the presidency in 2008, his first two years in office, and his reelection in 2012. Today, Axelrod serves as Director of the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago, a senior political commentator for CNN, and host of “The Axe Files” podcast and television show.

Susan and David Axelrod's eldest daughter, Lauren, was diagnosed with epilepsy at seven months old.

As part of the 2018 Leaders in Innovation Dinner, the Axelrods will speak in an engaging armchair discussion about their lives, careers and their journey as parents of a daughter with epilepsy.

“The 2018 Leaders in Innovation event will provide us with an exciting opportunity to recognize and celebrate important research advances being made in epilepsy research locally, nationally, and internationally,” said Marlys Koschinsky, PhD, Executive and Scientific Director at Robarts. “Our special guests Susan and David Axelrod will provide important personal perspectives on this devastating disease that will motivate researchers to push forward on the frontiers of epilepsy research. We look forward to welcoming them here to London, Ontario.”

The evening will also include the presentation of the J. Allyn Taylor International Prize in Medicine to Istvan Mody, PhD. Mody is the Tony Coelho Distinguished Professor of Neurology and Distinguished Professor of Physiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He is a world-leading expert in epilepsy research and becomes the 34th recipient of this prestigious award.

Robarts has been awarding the Taylor Prize to leading scientists since 1985 and recognizes the contributions of outstanding internationally recognized researchers. The J. Allyn Taylor International Prize in Medicine is named after the founding Chair of the Board at Robarts, and includes a cash prize of $25,000 and a medal bearing the likeness of J. Allyn Taylor. The award is generously supported by the C.H. Stiller Memorial Foundation and the family of the late J. Allyn Taylor.

The Leaders in Innovation Dinner takes place on Monday, November 19, 2018, at the London Convention Centre in London, Ontario. Master of Ceremonies for the evening is Peter Mansbridge, LLD’08.