John R. Marler, M.D., 1980 graduate of the West Virginia University School of Medicine, will receive the school’s Distinguished Alumnus Award on Friday.

Dr. Marler is an internationally recognized neuroscientist whose work has revolutionized the treatment of stroke – the number one cause of long-term disability and the third leading cause of death in the United States.

Marler directed the first clinical trial resulting in the use of intravenous recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rt-PA) in the treatment of acute ischemic stroke, which is caused by a blood clot. Rt-PA is a genetically engineered enzyme that works to dissolve blood clots.

Currently serving as a medical officer in the Division of Neurology Products at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Marler previously worked as the associate director for clinical trials at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, where he helped shape the direction for national funding for clinical neuroscience research.

“Dr. Marler’s work has helped to change the practice of medicine and how we treat patients every day; that is the hallmark of important research,” James Brick, M.D., interim dean of the WVU School of Medicine, said. “His continued accomplishments make us proud to call him a fellow alumnus and Mountaineer.”

In addition to his medical degree, Marler also earned an A.B. in mathematics at WVU. He completed post graduate training in neurobiology at WVU, a neurology residency at Mayo Clinic and numerous training experiences at the National Institutes of Health.

He has received several NIH Director’s Awards and most recently, the Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services Group Award for Healthy People. He is a member of the American Neurological Association, the American Academy of Neurology, the American Society for Experimental Neurotherapeutics and the Society for Clinical Trials.

Marler has been presenter on numerous scientific programs and advisory committees. He has contributed to seven book chapters and prepared more than 65 scientific reports.

The Distinguished Alumnus Award was established in 1984 by the Executive Council of the WVU School of Medicine Alumni Association and revised in 1995 by the Awards Committee. It honors alumni whose distinguished careers and unselfish contributions to society have enhanced the prestige of the school and have helped to upgrade the quality of healthcare.

For more information on the WVU School of Medicine, see


For More Information:
Angela Jones, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087