Dr. Roscoe Brady, MD

In Memoriam

Dr. Roscoe Brady, scientist emeritus at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), spent more than 50 years conducting pioneering research on hereditary metabolic storage diseases. Also called lipid or lysosomal storage disorders (LSDs), these diseases include Gaucher disease, Niemann-Pick disease, Fabry disease and Tay-Sachs disease. Dr. Brady died in 2016, and the Gaucher community will forever remember the incredible impact of his work.

Dr. Brady’s Legacy

According to the NIH, Dr. Brady’s work “has defined much of what is known about the biochemistry, enzymatic bases and metabolic defects of these disorders.” The NIH adds that his work inspired scientists worldwide to uncover the causes of many related disorders and pursue further research in this field.

“The cause of hereditary human metabolic storage disorders such as Gaucher disease was unknown when Roscoe Brady began his investigations more than 50 years ago,” says NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, MD. “His innovative research into disease mechanisms and the development of an effective treatment has significantly improved the lives of thousands of patients and has given hope to families affected by these disorders.”

Dr. Brady’s Early Career

Dr. Brady attended Pennsylvania State University and received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School. After interning at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, he became a post-doctoral fellow in the department of physiological chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and a fellow in clinical medicine in the department of medicine.

Following more than 2 years on active duty in the U.S. Naval Medical Corps, he joined the NIH. Starting as chief of the section on lipid chemistry in the laboratory of neurochemistry, he eventually became assistant chief of the laboratory of neurochemistry.

Dr. Brady’s Accomplishments

For 34 years, Dr. Brady served at NIH as chief of the developmental and metabolic neurology branch of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

Dr. Brady and his colleagues identified the enzyme defects in Gaucher disease, Niemann-Pick disease and Fabry disease and the specific metabolic abnormality in Tay-Sachs disease. He and his associates developed diagnostic, carrier detection and prenatal tests for the first three of these conditions. In addition, he and his colleagues pioneered effective enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) for patients with Gaucher disease and Fabry disease.

Dr. Brady’s many professional awards include the:

  • Gairdner International Award
  • Cotzias Award from the American Academy of Neurology
  • Pasano Foundation Award
  • Lasker Foundation Clinical Medical Research Award
  • Kovalenko Medal from the National Academy of Sciences USA
  • United States National Medal of Technology and Innovation
  • Pollin Prize for Pediatric Research

He was also a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Brady was closely involved with the NGF from its founding, and his death in 2016 was devastating to many in the Gaucher community. His life’s work will have a lasting impact on the lives of thousands with Gaucher disease and their families.

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