UToledo Neuroscientist to be Honored by State Gerontology Group

April 13, 2023 | News, Research, UToday, Alumni, Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
By Staff

A University of Toledo neuroscientist has been selected as the Ohio Association of Gerontology and Education researcher of the year.

Dr. William Messer will receive the award during the 46th annual OAGE conference, to be hosted Thursday and Friday, April 21 and 22, at UToledo.


Messer is a professor of medicinal chemistry and pharmacology in the UToledo College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

“Not only has Dr. Messer advanced our understanding and treatments for neurological and psychiatric diseases that impact older adults, but he has served as a mentor for many young researchers, providing opportunities for students at both the undergraduate and graduate level to expand their knowledge and advance their research skills,” said Dr. Victoria Steiner, an associate professor of population health in the College of Health and Human Services who is serving as the co-chair of this year’s conference.

The OAGE is a statewide organization that promotes aging education, research and practice and professional development. The theme for this year’s conference is “The Workforce and Aging: Challenges, Opportunities and Innovations.”

Registration is required. For more information about how to register and the schedule of events, visit the OAGE website.

Participants will hear presentations on current research and practice issues in aging and have opportunities to network and collaborate with other professionals working in the field of aging. Keynote addresses will be given by Dr. Ken Dychwald and Dr. James W. Grosch.

“The aging of our population means two things: on one hand, more people are retiring, and on the other hand, many older workers are choosing to work longer,” Steiner said. “This can pose challenges ­— such as greater healthcare demands — but societies also need to recognize this growing natural resource and take advantage of the time and expertise older adults have to offer.”

This OAGE researcher of the year award recognizes individuals who work or live in Ohio and whose research has advanced knowledge in gerontology or related disciplines that support the expansion of research in the aging field in Ohio or nationally.

Messer’s research is focused on the role of muscarinic acetylcholine receptors in mediating behaviors including learning, memory and cognitive function. In particular, he’s studied how those receptors might be targeted to treat Alzheimer’s Disease.

“It’s a very challenging disorder. There’s a lot that’s known about genetic risk factors for Alzheimer’s and there’s at least a broad understanding about what might be going wrong in Alzheimer’s patients, yet it’s a huge challenge to translate those concepts into new therapies,” Messer said. “I’ve had a unique opportunity at UToledo to work with a great group of students and collaborating scientists and it’s been a great environment for research.”

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